Are you running your business or is running you?

Fourth Step – Running your business

Running your business with non-negotiable

How was your business last year?


Was last year crazy good, crazy okay, or crazy bad?

Did it grow?  Did you grow or were you too busy to take any time off for YOU?

Were your operations smooth or did you run around like a lunatic putting out one fire and then another?

Were customers coming to you systematically or did you spend every waking moment asking:

  • where the next customer would come from,
  • if you needed to advertise and how much could you afford,
  • what type of promotion would bring them in,
  • and on and on and on with more questions?

If this last year wasn’t exactly as you hoped and you found that running your business was running you ragged, then it is time you draw some lines in your business.


Yes, non-negotiable lines.

Let me explain.

This is your business. Right?

If your business is running you, then you need to start taking control of it.  Turn the tables and make it serve you rather than you serving it.

This may be difficult for those in the sales and service business because you tend to believe that your business is always serving others.  And it is.

But it is also about serving YOU.

You started your business so you could do what you love.  Right?

You stay with it because you want the satisfaction of building something that you care about.  Right?

Then you’ll need to exercise some will power to turn the tables so you have the time you need to recharge, to think, to plan and to live.

Training your business is a bit like training a pet.  In the process you are also training yourself.

I can also share that for someone who hates to live by a ‘schedule’ – someone like me – this is not easy.  I absolutely hate the idea of doing things at a designated time.

But it is about setting and honoring some boundaries that give me more – not less – freedom.  I’ve also found that when I have a designated period of time for a task, I’m far more likely to get it done.

Running Your Business with Non-Negotiables

A non-negotiable is exactly what is says.  There are no negotiations on the matter.

This means that regardless of what is happening in your business, you will always honor your non-negotiables first and your business second.

The first step is to establish your non-negotiables.

What really matters to you?

  • Spending evenings with your loved ones
  • Picking up your kids from school
  • Having some time away from the business to get recharged
  • Spending some time with friends for an evening
  • Expanding your learning
  • Spending some time alone

Whatever serves you and gives you energy should be on your non-negotiable list.

Now that you’ve identified your non-negotiables, block out the necessary time to do what truly matters to you.

Non-negotiables can also apply to your business.

You may know that you need some time once a month just to plan for the next month or the next quarter so you will feel organized and prepared.

Solution?  Set up a non-negotiable.  Designate one or two days every month that stays clear of appointments and use this time to do your planning.

You may feel that the business inbox is a giant time and energy drain.

Solution?  Create a non-negotiable.  Have one of your staff or hire a virtual assistant to handle email communications.  You only see the important stuff.

Once you’ve established your non-negotiables, honor them.

Benefits of Non-Negotiables

  • Your business will run smoother because you’re more in control.
  • You have the time necessary to think your business and prepare for it.
  • You’ll feel better because the chaos has disappeared.
  • You’ll enjoy your business more because it isn’t controlling you – you’re controlling it.
  • You’ll be happier because you’re enjoying life a lot more.


“No one on his deathbed ever said, I wish I had spent more time on my business.”  Paul Tsongas

 Your Turn

What are your non-negotiables?  What restores you?  When is the last time you took the time away from your business to just enjoy life?

You can find the previous three Steps to this series in the links below.

If you’ve been following this series you know we’ve been walking through the steps that will help make next year better.  The links to the previous steps are below.

Step 1
Step 2
Step 3

Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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