New tweaks to improve your own performance and job satisfaction

By Michelle van Schouwen

Even the best small business can wear down the owner’s creativity and entrepreneurial instincts. That’s why it’s prudent, now and then, to step back and assess a few new ways to tweak your own performance, and hopefully your satisfaction as well.

-Take some time to withdraw from the day-to-day rush and re-imagine – or envision anew – what you want your company to be. Think about where you’d like to be in five years. Consider, too, what your personal end goal – and maybe your exit plan – may be. Compare all this with your current business and personal situation. Are you consistently directing your efforts toward your goals? If not, plan and implement some adjustments you can make right now.

-As part of this effort, reconsider your day-to-day responsibilities. Are there any you dislike? Or that feel like a waste of time? Can these be delegated, whether to a current staffer or a potential hire? Can they be reduced or eliminated entirely from the mix? If so, make the required changes as soon as you are able. You’ll enjoy your business more.

-But – and this is an important but – don’t delegate the mission-critical jobs you do extraordinarily well, unless someone else can do them just as effectively. You are the secret sauce.

-For one week, keep an hourly chart of your mood and energy levels. When do you feel most productive? When are you happiest, and when are you, shall we say, “in the zone?”  When are you dragging along, just getting through the hours? Wherever possible, adjust your daily schedule to leverage your own energies. Do the challenging work when you are sharp, and save the drudgery for lower-energy times.

-Leverage new technologies that save you time and money. You’re probably already doing a lot of this, whether through online meetings in lieu of travel, virtual receptionist services rather than having someone sitting at the front of the office, and even more remote work rather than more brick-and-mortar. Consider every opportunity that will enhance your life and your company.

-Cut any excess costs that keep you anxious. (Generally, these should be expenses for items that don’t gain you much, and where eliminating them won’t hurt your company’s potential for growth.) High rents, exorbitant salaries, out-of-date software subscriptions, legacy memberships and sponsorships, vendor contracts that have outlived their value, and any perks you can no longer afford all keep you tethered to just making ends meet. Ease your load and you’ll feel better. For longer-term commitments you’d like to shed, keep a calendar and offload them as soon as you are able.

-Let go of workers who aren’t a fit for the business. See Tear off the bandage and fire that problem employee from this same blog.

-Want more like this? See my very first post for Succeeding in Small Business and a later post on getting unstuck in a constantly changing business world.


Michelle van Schouwen is principal of Q5 Analytics, providing advocacy and communications for climate change mitigation and adaptation. See Q5 For 32 years, Michelle was president of van Schouwen Associates, LLC (vSA), a B2B marketing company. In 2017, van Schouwen Associates was acquired by Six-Point Creative Works, Inc. of Springfield, MA. Michelle is available for speaking engagements on topics including her work on climate crisis mitigation and Florida coastal water issues. She speaks to business and student groups about marketing launches and entrepreneurship and works with start-ups to support their development.

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