6 Steps to a Healthier Business Entrepreneurs Often Ignore

It’s Important for Entrepreneurs to Have a Healthy Business

I love being an entrepreneur, but we are indeed a special breed of business person. Sometimes we put the blinders on and don’t realize we are, in fact, in a toxic relationship with our business.

6 Steps for a Healthier Business

Here are 6 steps that you can take to have a healthier business.

1) Keep an eye on the books, know where the money is going

Don’t let your business take advantage of your optimistic nature and bleed your business (and personal) bank account dry. You don’t need the most expensive coffee for the office, nor the best desk in the co-working space. Paid subscriptions to every service your employees might want aren’t required to do the work your customers need. Your bank account and mental sanity matter too.

2) Check in with advisers at least once a year (CPA, lawyer, HR specialist)

We all miss an annual check-up now and then (or year after year—I’m certainly guilty of this), but like checking in with our doctor or dentist can help us avoid costly or scary medical problems, so can checking in with HR, tax and financial specialists. Worse than not paying taxes that incur big penalties is not knowing you aren’t paying them and finding out years later.

3) Plan ahead, have a budget/forecast

For me, once I built and used a forecast, I couldn’t imagine how I could live without one. Knowing that the money I am spending is going toward productive, value-added activities or that I have the freedom to spend big on a holiday party without guilt is an incredible feeling. Also knowing what the cash in the bank will be used for—bonuses for key employees or saving up for a low cash season can make things like a subscription budget or setting a budget for new office furniture easier to stick to. When we see the cash in the bank and don’t have a clear plan of what we need it for, it is so much easier to spend it on something in retrospect we don’t need.

4) Have a rainy day fund

Nothing feels better than when something goes really wrong, you have the funds to cover it right away. No scrambling for debt, begging your investors or taking out a second mortgage on your home. Future you will thank you if you start putting aside 3 months of payroll and other key expenses today. The sooner you start, the more your future self will thank you!

5) Know your worth

What could you be paid elsewhere? Would someone else pay for your business? Don’t be a slave to your business and please don’t let your business run your life. Easier said than done, perhaps. Being a person that can go on vacation is better for both you and your business in the long run. If your business doesn’t allow you to do that and you know another job or better situation would, it’s time to have a hard think. Are you in a toxic relationship with your business? What is keeping you here? Is there a better environment you could live your life in? If you get through this hard think and realize you are in a toxic relationship, but you also love what you do, you have two options. One, go do what you love to do for someone else’s business or two, get some business counseling and figure out if you can save your business and bring it back into healthy balance. The nice thing about businesses is they aren’t people and they can change—but they are in many ways reflections of ourselves, so we have to decide to change what we expect of them too.

6) Take time away

Haven’t taken a vacation in years and starting to feel like your business will never let you? Paradoxically this means you need one more than ever. Maybe it’s just two days over a weekend. Spend time with family, friends or in a remote cabin with no cell service. Whatever it takes for you to get a moment of freedom from thinking about your business and can take a couple of steps back. Many companies take an executive retreat to remove their minds from the day-to-day and see their company from a new perspective. When you are an entrepreneur, you often don’t have the luxury of a full team of people to take with you on your mental retreat. So, at the very least, take yourself away to first reflect on yourself. Once you feel you’ve taken enough mental steps away, come back to your business. Remember, even a few days off can give you some fresh perspective and a much-needed refresh.

A note on taking time away: It lets you see what your business can do without you and lets your employees spread their wings and help you see what they can do (or what they may need more training on). Great leaders and solid businesses need time apart as much as they need time together.

Building a Healthier Relationship With Your Business

Build a better relationship with your business through a good, honest conversation about not just operations, but finances. Is your business pulling its weight on the bank account side of your life?

Talk to a CFO today.