Although running your own business has its attractions, being in business can leave you feeling lonely and isolated. About 70% of the 400,000 small businesses in New Zealand are operated by just one person. If you are one of these people, this leaves the financial decisions, planning for the future, and the stress of long hours and day-to-day tasks all falling on you, leading to a feeling of isolation.
Research has shown that when business owners feel isolated, the decisions they make can have a negative effect on finances, relationships, and wellbeing both mental and physical. It is vitally important for you to be able to share burdens, bounce ideas around, have the motivation to move forward and feel connected on a business and personal level. The feeling of isolation will prevent you from being able to do this. Your business’s most important asset is you, or more specifically, your ability to make good decisions and work effectively, so it is essential that you protect this asset and make it as strong as possible. How can you do this?
As social beings, we need regular connection with others and building this into your routine is often the first step in being better in your business. This may be as simple as going to your favourite café for your morning break and making a connection there. Another way to keep connected is by attending networking events. Although you may not normally do this type of thing, these events are a great way to connect with others in a similar situation and will help to remind you of why you are in business.
A formal way to stay connected is to have a business mentor or coach that you meet with on a regular, scheduled basis. The formality of these meetings helps focus you on what is important and gives you goals with set dates to achieve these by. Because this gives you accountability, your motivation is improved and you are able to celebrate your successes with somebody who cares about your business.
It is always important to remember why you went into business in the beginning. I would be surprised if the original motivation was to work long hours, not take holidays, argue with loved ones about money and feel alone and isolated. Reach out to your trusted advisors, your banker, accountant, business associates, local community and loved ones to build the connections and support that you need to stay sane in business.