If you’re a parent, you’ll be able to appreciate this comparison to business owners. Before you become a parent (or a business owner), life is easy. You can wake up when you want. Travel at a moment’s notice. But as soon as you become a parent (or business owner), life changes forever.
Fortunately, there are some wonderful lessons to glean in parenting that can help entrepreneurs as well.
1. The Early Years are the Most Precious
Whether you’re gushing over the fact that your 3-month old just pushed herself onto her back or that your company just got its first customer, both are special moments. And both require the most nurturing.
New parents often hear “time will go so fast” as it relates to a baby not staying a baby for long; so goes the business. The unprofitable long, hard days seem to stretch on endlessly, but before you know it, you’ll be on solid ground with your company.
2. Time is Meant to Be Juggled
If you have more than one child who participates in extracurricular activities, you know it’s practically an act of magic to get Junior to soccer and Sally to gymnastics. Those so-called experts who say multitasking is bad for us? They don’t have kids.
And when you run a business, multitasking helps entrepreneurs survive. Our time is limited (after all, we have kids to shuttle in a few hours) and we’re handling several roles within our company. We have no choice but to juggle multiple tasks at once.
3. We Need Creative Time More Than We Know
Our kids are constantly doing creative things, both at home and at school. Finger painting. Sidewalk chalk-ing. Coloring. So why, when we become adults, do we set aside creative things? Haven’t you ever sat down to color or draw with your kid and come away feeling rejuvenated, and maybe even just a bit brighter?
Strive to add time to be creative to your work schedule. Even if it’s just taking a walk around the office or getting some fresh air. You’d be surprised what it will inject into your workflow.
4. People Like to Be Managed Differently
You’ve got the one child who will eat her vegetables if you bribe her with chocolate. Another won’t budge, even if you threaten her to stay at the table all night. Employees are (almost) the same. You’ve got to respond to what they react to. If one employee wants to run all his ideas by you for approval, let him. If another prefers you to be hands-off, pay attention to that cue.
5. Anything is Possible
Children believe in magic and imagination. As entrepreneurs, there’s a little of that in us as well, otherwise we wouldn’t be creating something out of thin air. But when you get bogged down with the day-to-day, look at your business from your child’s perspective, and tell yourself that you can do anything you set your mind to. If only you believe.