DIWIKI the quickest way to let your machine learn your data
Starting a business and maintaining a healthy work/life balance needn't be mutually exclusive. Here's what Brett Schklar learned:
- Define your idea of a healthy work/life balance early in the startup process. What about your personal life is most worth protecting? How much time do you want to set aside for pursuits outside of work? When are you willing to ignore your BlackBerry?
- Let that definition guide you in how you design your business plan and build your business, not vice versa.
- Be comfortable taking risks and making difficult decisions. If you are not, don't take on a startup venture--it will be too stressful.
- Look beyond the bottom line in defining success. Profitability means little if it isn't accompanied by a sense of fulfillment.
- Control your calendar. Learn how and when to say "no."
- Rely upon friends and family to alert you when you're overworking.
- Take steps to lower stress. Everyone on Schklar's staff gets a membership to a massage parlor.
- Set aside time for yourself. Schklar spends Tuesday and Thursday afternoons with his son.
- Be the boss of you. "Manage your customers," Schklar says. "Don't let customers manage you."
- "The way to grow is to do what you love to do. Invest in it. Build it. Be willing to take risks. Keep ethics and the best interests of the people around you in mind. And don't always focus on the money."
- "We understand the marketplace," Schklar says. "It's all we do and all we are passionate about. We know how to use e-marketing, social media, things like that, in a B-to-B context to help companies grow. People are dying for that kind of help."
The 10-employee firm has both startups and large corporations as part of its national client base.
- Work Smarter, Not Longer
Some of the keys:
- Make sure somebody needs what you are offering. Identify a niche--a void your company is uniquely positioned to fill--and exploit it.
- Define the types of clients you want. And avoid the ones you don't. They're not worth the trouble.
- Tap your network. Known quantities offer fewer unpleasant surprises.
- Hire people to bolster your weaknesses. The goal is to build a balanced, highly capable staff.
- Plan, plan and plan some more. "It's about having a big, awesome long-term vision, plus a staged approach to growth," Schklar says.
- Make team members privy to your company strategy. "That gives everybody a compass," he explains, "and leaves less room for error."
- Deliver superior work. Satisfied clients are sticky clients. In 2008, Schklar notes, Market Creation Group doubled its revenue without adding a single new client.