Spend a lot of time working on your own and you can start to feel cut off from the rest of the world and alone. It’s no secret that the quiet can get to you.
For this reason, the risk of isolation for small business owners is very real.
No small business owner is an island and we must take measures to ensure we do not fall into the trap of feeling isolated or unconsciously isolating ourselves.
Here are three ways to avoid isolation.
1. Make time for face time. If you need to meet with clients or suppliers, don’t always reach for the phone. Schedule face-to-face meetings with clients and other business owners, or friends and family members outside your office (especially if you work at home).
2. Look at the facts. Sometimes when we feel overwhelmed or emotional it can feel like we are alone. However if you take a step back and look at the facts you can identify your current situation and any real problems to come up with simple solutions. I find it helpful to write things down, including what I am thinking. Often you discover that feelings are magnified more than they should be and they could be easily solved.
3. Volunteer and be a part of something greater than yourself. You may be on your own as a sole operator or small business owner, but you can be a part of something greater than yourself.
I may not always be 100% motivated about my business. Sometimes it is just something I have to do. However this does not get to me because I am always motivated about something.
Being involved in the local community, helping others through my local church and being co-founder of an Australian charity means that I:
- am connected to others,
- have challenges outside of my business to dig my teeth into,
- can focus more on others, and
- don’t have time to over-think the silence that can sometimes get to you when you are a small business owner.
Offer your skills to a charity, volunteer to help the needy, start your own network or join an existing one, get involved in community activities.
So why is isolation a business risk? When you are isolated you can become overwhelmed and lose some direction and motivation. Instead of having one eye on the present and the other eye on the future, you have both eyes on the present with little desire to plan and prepare for the future.
This year, push yourself to interact and participate. Make sure you have face-to-face interaction and meaningful connections in your business and personal life.
Your business and those around you will be better off for it.