The core to any small business is the business owner. For many small businesses, like mine, the core is also the periphery. Many small business owners are trying hard to create a business system which amplifies their efforts over time and hope to someday, possibly, start thinking about culture and other fun stuff like that.
If that is you, I want to write a short post on how your location, your resting habits, and the people around you help create a culture of innovation, even if it is just you!
As a small business owner or independent freelance worker, your location matters. Even if you do everything online in a virtual community. Going unplugged and working primarily from coffee-shops is a great idea, but there are some drawbacks to not being intentional about your work and business location.
Costs are increased by choosing a poor location. Efficiency is decreased and technology is limited by the location you choose to work in or sell from. For example, I was working from home, writing and trying to build a business.
My office was the kitchen, and my preschool age children spent part of their day sitting at the table learning to read, talking to me, drawing pictures, and watching videos. This was not ideal. It was costing me time and efficiency to work there and my laptop had given up the ghost a few months back.
Since I had not means to move to a coffee shop and could not work at home, I had to get creative. Thankfully, I was able to find Loom Coworking in Fort Mill. I was able to move my clunky desktop into the office and start working there within one day.
The location you work is important to your business, and it may be any one of the following places: coffee shops, beaches or other “resort” type locations, coworking offices, a spare room at home, your kitchen table, or a traditional business lease. It is important that you remember that the location you work in needs to give you ample opportunities to network with others, to do focused work, and to be able to put your pen down at the end of a work session.
Dropping The Pencil
I have to credit Morgan Snyder of Ransomed Heart for this idea, but it is key to building a healthy culture that breeds innovation in work. His Christmas blog from 2013 is a classic in my inspirational repertoire; he talks about finding the deeper magic (credit to CS Lewis) in his family one snowy day. He talks about dropping the pencil early to go home and fight for an intimate moment with his family. Now that I am working from a coworking space with a clunky computer, I am learning how valuable this idea is to building quality relationships with my family, myself, and God and how limiting my work time actually drives to increased productivity, rather than the other way around.
I know when I come into the office in the morning that I have limited time before I have to put my work down and go home. So I have to plan and commit to a course of action for my day that will increase my business and be accomplished in the hours I have allotted to that day’s work. This drives high energy innovation in the moment and also creates opportunities for me to recharge. When I drop the pencil, I have a 15 minute drive to be back to my family where I review how my day went, pray through my successes and failures, and prepare to go home and rest.
The next day, or next shift, I come back ready to work with a clear understanding of the limited time I have available. Finding time to rest and recharge is essential. If you want to have an innovative culture as a small business owner/freelancer, devote time each day and each week to rest, recharge, and love people around you.
MasterMind for Innovation
Innovative ideas I have worked on in the last week: recruiting students from a college planner (tutoring business), helping my wife take a semester off of grad school to recover from a busy summer and some stress in our family’s health (personal), and committing to writing 30 blogs in 30 days (writing work). All of these innovative moments in my life are the result of spending time with others and getting on the same wavelength as them relationally, what sales guru Napoleon Hill called a mastermind.
If you are going to create a positive, innovative culture in your life that drives you to greater success, you need to focus on finding a great location, taking time to recharge, and building masterminds with others!