September is Self-Improvement Month, a month focused on making changes, embracing a fresh outlook, and taking advantage of new opportunities. We tend to think of self-improvement as a personal endeavor, but it’s critical to growing your company, too. If you’re self-employed, improving the “self” improves the “employer”, which is your business. Improving your health, building wealth, enjoying greater happiness and satisfaction in life, growing yourself -- they are all connected. That is why Self-Improvement Month is so powerful.
Here are a few things you can do now to enhance your business (and yourself):
- Become a bookworm.
Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet. They’re all avid readers and all wildly successful. Being a bookworm is one of the best things you can do for your business. Reading exposes you to new ideas, expanding your knowledge of both your business and yourself. Resolve this month to read more books and blogs -- like ours! -- for advice and growth strategies. Google Scholar, which provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources (articles, books, abstracts, university websites, etc.), is a great place to begin your search.
- Get out of your comfort zone.
Doing things the way you’ve always done them is the quickest way to stall out. On a personal level, consider an activity you’ve never tried before, like that yoga or stand-up paddleboarding class you’ve wanted to try but have never had the time or nerve. Professionally, consider spicing up your marketing efforts, redesigning your website, or exploring technologies designed to increase efficiency or work remotely more often. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is the best way to grow your company and yourself.
- Connect with others.
Resolve to make time for family and friends this month -- in person! Social media is great, but let that be the way you connect with your customers. Your children are getting older, your spouse and your parents miss you. Spend actual time with them. You will feel immensely better when you do.
But speaking of social media, use it (and use it well) for your business. Many small business owners sign up for social media accounts because they think they should, but never actually use the accounts. 3 out of 4 consumers consult social media before making a purchase, so you literally cannot afford to have a lazy presence. Dedicate an afternoon to update your social media profiles, and explore all the ways you can use it to better connect with potential and existing clients. Is the blog section of your website dead? Write a post and keep it current. 2-3 posts each week works wonders.
- Be honest with yourself.
It’s Self-Improvement Month, after all. Have you been neglecting your health? Carrying too much stress? Holding onto old resentments? It’s time to change all that. Look in the mirror and be honest. What do you need to change in order to be your best self?
The same is true for your business. Are you truly successful or one bad month away from losing everything? Is your team working well together? What can you do to improve your finances, your services, your internal communication, or even your office set-up? What nagging problems have you been sweeping under the rug? The first step in addressing tough issues is acknowledging they exist.
Believe it or not, the holidays are quickly approaching. This may be the last month of the year to truly dedicate some quality time to yourself and your business. I invite you to use Self-Improvement Month as a starting point where you begin to focus on making improvements rather than just going through the motions of day-to-day life.