Traverse City Record-Eagle

April 28, 2013

Megan Raphael: Invest in yourself to succeed

BY MEGAN RAPHAEL
Special to the Record-Eagle

---- — By necessity, small business owners must remain focused on the efficiency, profitability and growth of their businesses.

As a result, they often fail to invest in the growth of their most important asset: themselves. They forget the link between the vitality of their company and their own mental, physical and emotional vitality.

Whether you’re a novice or veteran entrepreneur, every day offers an opportunity to improve the quality of your business and life. It’s all too easy when building a business to become drained by day-to-day urgencies. Your long-term success, however, depends on maintaining a high level of energy and creativity.

You can stretch yourself mentally by staying abreast of business-related news in your own or a different industry. Search engine technology tools like Google Alerts make it easy; you’ll be notified whenever relevant content appears. RSS feeds and customizable news aggregation websites such as alltop.com bring news headlines, blogs and podcasts together in a single location.

Schedule time to finally read through those stacks of trade journals, national news publications and local newspapers you’ve been collecting. Learn new professional skills through the many colleges and universities located in town and/or through the University Center. Tap into local chapters of professional associations, the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations such as SCORE that offer free or no-cost programs and events.

Strengthen yourself physically by taking frequent breaks throughout the day to stretch and breathe. Walk around your office to get the blood flowing. Occasionally shift your attention from your computer screen to something out of your immediate vicinity or out the window. Clear your physical environment of distracting and frustrating messes. Get healthier by exercising and eating better foods.

Enhance your emotional well-being by setting aside business when you go home at night, especially if you spend most of your time in a home office. Deepen professional and personal relationships that are affirming and energizing. Attend networking events that expand your connections. Create alone time to reflect and renew. Focus on gratitude for your business and life.

Never stop investing in yourself. If you, the owner, aren’t operating at 100 percent, your small business probably won’t either.

For more information or assistance with starting or maximizing the success of your small business, contact Traverse City SCORE toll-free at 888-796-4913 or visit www.UpNorthScore.com to schedule a free and confidential appointment with a SCORE mentor.

Megan Raphael is a SCORE volunteer and the owner of Megan Raphael Consulting, a Traverse City-based business and leadership development consulting firm.