Maintaining a Healthier Business Start Up Lifestyle

If you’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart and loved creating business start ups, chances are you’re ambitious and tackle many challenges directly without reservations. You have a passion for your product and service, and want to share those visions with your clients. You hate losing, and will win at all costs. You will even skip breaks and meals, work extended hours and on weekends, and scream at the first sight of failure or missing a deadline.

You also expect every one of your small group of co-workers to do the same for the sake of the organization.

Does this person sound familiar?

All entrepreneurs know you have to be passionate about what you do and go “the extra mile” to make your startup a success, but winning in the business game doesn’t have to cost you everything outside of it. In fact, creating a healthier lifestyle – both in and out of the office – will have a direct positive impact on the overall success of your organization.

We’re talking hard dollars here for being healthy. While improving your health should be a strong incentive by itself, there are ancillary benefits for building a healthy lifestyle right into the culture of your business start up.

For example, that new college graduate or seasoned executive you are interviewing may not be as ‘gung-ho’ as you are about the new smart phone app or 3-D printer being created, but may be immediately impressed by the lifestyle present while interviewing at the office. Please keep in mind the opposite is true as well, and a poor startup lifestyle can quickly affect the perceptions of potential candidates, current employees, or even customers that you interact with in person.

The good news is there are many ways to combat negative outcomes and have a healthy startup lifestyle. The methods listed below also work well in your personal life. Let’s go for it:

Block Schedule Time

Don’t just create a “to-do” or “task” list. The reason why this is relevant is because most people have a laundry list of tasks, but don’t necessarily have proper time allocated to see them through to completion. You should increase confidence (and decrease stress simultaneously) knowing you have specific time for a specific task this week, and don’t be distracted from your goal.

Business Start Up - Schedule time

For example, if you have to do a presentation this week and it will take you two hours to fully prepare (say an hour for creating slides and an hour for revisions and practice), make sure you block of two hours well ahead of the big show. This is especially key in a business start up environment, where the majority of time you have to create original materials and systems.

Also, the reason why you rarely leave the office on time may not be because there is too much work (gasp!) – it could be you simply don’t have solid time management skills and didn’t budget your time correctly. There are some days that will simply run longer than others for a variety of reasons, but I learned early on that it’s OK to leave on time, as the work would always be there tomorrow.

Take Brain Breaks

Research shows you’re much more effective in both doing work and learning with intense two hour sessions followed by a 15 minute break versus a marathon session, work day, or work week. Have you ever tried making a sales call, learning a new program, or being in a meeting at the end of an exhausting day? It always seems much tougher, complicated, and strenuous then when you feel fresh.

Business Start Ups - Take Brain Breaks

Instead of just trying to pound through the day, do some great work and then take a quick break to re-energize. Do this at intermittent points throughout the day, and base it on your own personal energy levels. Think about it like strategically managing a race, and the importance of getting water throughout the race – not just at the end when you’re already physically and mentally spent.

If your current business start up is still a small group of people, you could consider doing an informal group break session. Your brain will thank you later for it in the form of new energy and ideas.

Change Meeting Scenery

Even if you have one of the best meeting spaces on the planet, it pays to have some meetings out of the normal grind of the office. This will force you to walk around, get fresh air, and change scenery. On a larger scale, mobility, flexibility, and embracing a constantly shifting environment are hallmarks of a healthy startup lifestyle.

Business Start Up - Change meeting scenery

Whenever I’m doing creative writing, it always helps to go someplace different than my standard location to help stimulate those creative juices and get ideas flowing onto the notepad, smart phone or laptop. At least once a quarter (and hopefully much more frequently), make it a point to invite people from other departments to certain meetings.

As Steve Jobs once correctly noted, it’s these random encounters with both co-workers (from different teams) and strangers (in the real world) that can produce an intellectual spark resulting in a breakthrough innovation.

The next time you’re meeting with family or friends, go to a new restaurant or venue that you’ve never been to before instead of the local favorite. You might surprise yourself this way.

Invest in Culture & Perks

The culture of your organization can make-or-break employees lifestyles inside the office (otherwise known as workstyle). After all, employees don’t usually leave companies because of pay or lack of responsibility. More often, they leave because of poor company culture and/or relationships with other employees.

As a business start up, you should invest considerable resources getting the culture right early on in the incubator stage. Then, hire people that will fit into the positive culture you have created, and make sure there is a Culture Champion monitoring it and constantly, looking for ways to improve it. When you do find a potential superstar employee (that fits into the culture), try talking about something different than a big salary and signing bonus (that you may not be able to afford anyways), such as office perks.

Business Start Ups - Invest in company culture and perks

We’ve all heard of companies offering famous perks and common ones like a game station, foosball table, dart board, free/discounted massages, and drink cart with free healthy drinks and adult beverages (for Fridays) can go a long way with the right people.

Building a business start up is inherently fun, and it’s also a lot of work. However, just because there are tough days required doesn’t mean your entire professional and personal lifestyle has to suffer.

While you’re working diligently on your next project or hit a road block, remember the above points and share them with your team. When you’re the owner, founder, and CEO of a startup, aim to work smarter instead of harder. One of the best ways to work smart is to consistently use healthy habits and strong practices. In the long run, these gets results. Healthy lifestyles breed healthy habits, and healthy habits mean productive days. Increased productivity = increased profits.

Finally, your lifestyle outside of your startup can directly impact the results inside the office walls. If things are not going as planned and you’re running out of ideas, try changing the person staring back at you in the mirror before changing your employees, systems, and culture. Lead by example and the results will follow.

Are you an entrepreneur or a business start up? Share some of your valuable thoughts below.

Author: Sam Frymer

Positivity Advocate, Entrepreneur and Tenacious Marketer. Sam enjoys promoting healthy habits everywhere, attaining life goals, challenging exercise and awesome people.

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  • http://twitter.com/HairByPlatinum Platinum Hair Studio

    A very good post Sam. Thank you for sharing your experience. I wonder if you can share more light on ‘Invest in Culture & Perks’ – We already have a good company culture, but with little room in our hair studios, we can’t add pool tables as much we’d like to :) What are other great ways to get things exciting?

    Thanks

    • Sam Frymer

      Thanks for the input Platinum Hair Studio! Great question. The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word “exciting” is DIFFERENT. In other words, you already have amazing people checked off the list, and now you just need different activities to spice things up a bit. If you want to keep things in house, try doing a wine & cheese night after closing up shop. During the holidays, do themed events, such as a best costume contest during Halloween/

      Mischief Night. A personal favorite of mine is always the monitor in a public area that constantly streams messages (employee birthdays, VIP welcomes, Did You Know? fun facts, etc.), and group photos from past employee events. These turn into talking points between employees and customers, and also keep things fun.

      • http://twitter.com/HairByPlatinum Platinum Hair Studio

        Thank you Sam, some really good ideas there! Might have to implement a few fundays as above. Thanks again!

  • Sam Frymer

    Thanks Neek! I appreciate Matt Dippl also pushing this message, and would welcome the opportunity to join forces. I’ll check out the presentation. Thanks again.

    • http://www.mattdippl.com/ Matt Dippl

      Hi Sam – discovered this conversation again. Would love to catch up some time and chat. It’s one of my favourite topics you have covered here.

      I really see more and more that deep physical health creates a sharper, more focused and intelligent brain – hence business execution improves dramatically.

      A higher potential to execute I think is very attractive to Entrepreneurs. If they GET how to get there…

      • Sam Frymer

        Hey Matt! Go ahead and e-mail me at: samuel.frymer@gmail.com with your contact info.

        I’ve got some ideas for projects, articles, etc. that would could team up on for some positive and measurable results.

        Looking forward to it!

      • http://www.mattdippl.com/ Matt Dippl

        Done.

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  • Matt D.

    Really good post. Well worth a read from any business status point of view. Great to see some awesome writers at business banter :) pushing out valid stories!

    • Sam Frymer

      Thank you for the compliments Matt. There is more to come!

  • Marius Fermi

    Awesome article! I’m a fan of great time management (still a work in progress for me however). With me however I find that I tend to work best when kept busy, a schedule keeps me focused otherwise I tend to get distracted by the most tiniest of things.

    I work in a remote office, so whenever I get the chance to speak to someone about business ideas I usually struggle to take a breath as the fear of losing my opportunity to speak over powers me.

    The one thing I’ve ensured that has stayed true with me is that I stick with hour long weight training everyday at 5pm. Any work that needs to be completed is done there after however I’m adamant to keep this part of my daily routine.

    • Sam Frymer

      Glad you liked it Marius! Love the part about keeping busy to stay focused. I think we both recognize that workouts can do wonders for your productivity – especially on a daily schedule.

  • http://twitter.com/i_want_sunshine Sam Dean

    Awesome article. I tend to wonder how ongoing strict deadlines would affect the set up mentioned above? As less time and less money seems to be available to startups.

    • Sam Frymer

      I appreciate it, Sam. The block scheduling and brain breaks would have a slightly different application related to ongoing strict deadlines versus a role that was less deadline intensive. I would recommend using block scheduling to play offense against any deadlines that are reoccurring. For example, if the startup CEO needs a report every Monday at 8:00am no-matter-what, I would schedule ample time the previous week, and possibly send it out Friday afternoon. Also, if you have an hour long conference call or meeting with developers, I would schedule in flex time (“white space”) immediately following the conclusion of the meeting. This can be used to quickly follow-up on an urgent call, respond to an important e-mail, or if there are no fires to resolve, simply take a brain break.

  • http://twitter.com/HeriotCatering Tony Arens

    We’ve been in business for over 35 years and looking back at this post reminds me of our early days. Saying that, it also is well embellished in todays everyday workings of our business. In todays fast paced world, fewer people are taking breaks – How would you anticipate these ‘breaks’ without stretching the overall working day and get all work done too? Any pointers?

    • Sam Frymer

      Hi Tony. First off, congratulations on the 35+ years of operations. That’s a tremendous nod to standing the test of time and putting customers first.

      You have a valid question here. I would recommend taking a break – even if it’s only 5 minutes – at a couple points throughout the day. While technically this would add said amount of time (say 4 x 5 minute breaks = 20 minutes), I would say that added productivity and fresh attention would be greater overall than the time lost. In other words, being able to work more quickly and effectively in a slightly shorter time block is recommended. Also, if you can take breaks and multi-task (i.e. – not a full break), like discussing a new project idea with a co-worker while walking around the building or at the coffee station, that will at least get some oxygen flowing and break-up the time at the desk.

  • http://www.businessbanter.com/ Shameer Shah

    Superb post Sam :) As a blogger, editor and colleague, it’s customary and a pleasure to welcome you to BusinessBanter.com with open arms. You will make a great addition to the BB community and wish you all the best!

    Awesome first post and look forward to more awesomeness! Shameer

    • Sam Frymer

      Thank you for the vote of confidence Shameer. I’m glad to be part of a strong community, and am looking forward to making a positive impact!

      • Lirone Glikman

        Welcome to the team Sam!

      • Sam Frymer

        Thanks much Lirone! I’m ready to throw my hat into the mix, and learn from this high-caliber group!

  • Lisa Webb

    I wonder how small businesses could extend their company culture beyond in-house perks mentioned above? I mean, for smaller businesses or startups it’s quite difficult to invest in facilities as they’re already paying out for rent and staff, and not to forget marketing on a budget.

    • Sam Frymer

      Hi Lisa – thanks for the question. I think you’re spot on with small organizations being on tight budgets, and the need to be frugal in every dollar spent. One idea I would recommend would be to hold social outings where employees can pick up their own tab (BBQ where everyone brings something, trip to the local pub, or even helping out a local cause that the organization supports). When employees come together outside the office, that strengthens the cultural fabric inside the office walls.

  • Philip Jones

    This is inspirational and more. Every point has a legitimate reason why start ups are fun and challenging. I especially believe in ‘
    Invest in Culture & Perks’ as this will help bring out the best in your team and promote greater friendship in a business environment. Well done.

    • Sam Frymer

      Thank you for the kind words Philip. The Culture & Perks really can separate the good from the great. Here’s to all businesses promoting a healthy foundation that brings healthy success.

  • http://twitter.com/paulstuartevent paulstuartevents

    Great article Sam. All the tips are very sensible and a total requirement for a startup. Truth be told, I think the above principles also apply to established businesses and businesses who are expanding. Also, love the note by Steve Jobs :)

    • Sam Frymer

      I definitely appreciate it Paul, and agree with you these have other applications in varying business stages. These ideas could be filed under the simple and practical approach, yet still yield great results. When I read the Steve Jobs biography, it changed the way I thought about the game. Thanks again for the input.