Running a Small Business & the Art of Balance

Running a Small Business & Work Life BalanceRunning a small business is not an easy task. It’s time consuming, and requires a lot of brain power to make countless decisions, big and small.

Even if you don’t have a family, this can be challenging. But what about if you do have a family? Especially if you have young children and a spouse that need your support, too? Or maybe you’re a single parent?

All of a sudden, running your business — not to mention focusing on business growth — just got exponentially harder.

Why? Because it’s very difficult to balance work, family and self in a way where something (or someone) doesn’t suffer from lack of attention.

In our Running a Small Business series, we going to be focusing on many topics including, discovering, defining, setting and accomplishing goals, as well as overcoming obstacles. But first I’d like to address the topic of balance, or what I like to call “Foundational Balance.”

The reason I start with Foundational Balance is because if you don’t have it — it becomes increasingly hard to handle your business and your family life. And when this happens, you may start to feel like a failure, or that you’re “lame.” The truth is you are not a failure — nor are you lame. You are simply struggling with your time and energy, like many other individuals running a small business.

Although you may feel you’re the only one struggling with these issues, that’s simply not the case. But realizing it’s not just you isn’t enough to fix the problem. You’ll also need to make improvements to your Foundational Balance.

Going Beyond Work/Life Balance

Before we dive into Foundational Balance, let’s quickly review the tried-and-true (and flawed) work/life balance philosophy. Why is it flawed? Because often times, a “work/life balance” philosophy is only two dimensional. But true balance comes down to more than balancing work life and home life. When we stick to only these two dimensions, there’s a third dimension that’s going completely unnoticed — YOU!

Creating a Strong Foundational Balance

Foundational Balance puts YOU and YOUR NEEDS front and center in the equation to attaining balance. Which makes sense when you think about the fact that if you’re not in a good place, how can you possibly take good care of your business or your family?

As the name implies, Foundational Balance is literally the foundation we stand on while we’re juggling all aspects of our lives. We need our Foundational Balance to be exceptional as opposed to acceptable. And yet many colleagues, clients and parents I speak with feel they are just getting through each day — just getting by — instead of moving in a positive direction.

What is Your Foundational Balance?

They’re the things you need in order to function optimally. Notice the wording there. Your foundational balance is not comprised of the things you MUST do every day, like work and dropping the kids off at school. Instead, they’re the things you need to do to have a strong mind, body, spirit and emotional life.

Although how each of us works on our Foundational Balance can vary wildly, what we’re working on is typically the same. To follow are the “basic” things you need to excel:

  1. Sleep
  2. Exercise
  3. Meditation/Spirituality/Religion
  4. Quality time with spouse/loved ones

A short list, for sure, but also a highly important one.

You are like a car …
A good, real-world example of how this works is your car. Think about the pistons in your car. They pump up and down — with great assistance from the motor oil you put in the engine. Now if I take the oil out of the car, will the pistons run? Yes. Will they pump? Yes. Will they eventually break down? Yes.

The pistons can accomplish their goal of pumping and getting you somewhere, at least least for a limited amount of time. But they are not going to be working efficiently.

They are not going to be anywhere near optimal.

You are the same. Without having a solid Foundational Balance — having your oil changed, your tires rotated, having enough gas and receiving timely tune-ups — you are going to run like a clunker!


Take a few minutes and sit down to assess where you’re at with the four Foundational Balance areas listed above. Are there any other things you need to add to your list?

Next, set a plan of action in place to begin working on each of these areas. And start small with attainable goals you can accomplish on a daily basis. There’s only so much time in the day, so be kind to yourself so you can consistently address each of the areas that make up your Foundational Balance.

While you’re at it, grab a cup of coffee (or two) to celebrate the fact that you’re actively creating a stronger Foundational Balance!

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