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Business owner mindset: Balancing present and future success

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June 16, 2023

Nowadays, we see fewer business owners transfer ownership of their businesses to their children – oftentimes because their adult kids aren’t interested in making the sacrifices they saw their parents make, or don’t have the passion for that particular industry.

Instead of taking over the business, they want to go to the cottage for the weekend or attend their kid’s soccer games.

What they don’t want is late nights of stress and worry, being constantly called to put out fires at the office and dealing with the overwhelming responsibilities of running a business.

Being a business owner takes a unique mindset.

You have to accept there will be trade-offs – which may include giving up leisure time or personal events in the pursuit of business success.

Figuring out how you’ll navigate these challenges requires a clear understanding of both your short-term objectives and long-term goals.

Values and trade-offs
Probably one of the biggest reasons I’m still in this industry is because as a young professional, I moved to Green Bay where I didn’t know anyone.

I had zero distractions, allowing me to fully immerse myself into learning the industry – morning, noon and night.

I would get calls from my old college roommates, telling me it was softball night or volleyball night in Milwaukee.

It was tough missing out on that fun, but I believed I was creating something bigger for myself and my future family.

These are some of the hard decisions that business owners need to make.

What are you willing to give up?

You may decide that certain sacrifices, such as missing school plays and sporting events, are worthwhile when compared to the long-term vision and the flexibility that successful entrepreneurship can offer.

Or maybe you’re not okay with that, but that could mean you may not have the capacity to take your business to the next level. 
Faced with constant pressure and competing demands, it becomes essential to reflect on your values and determine what is important in your life.

Every individual has unique priorities, and there’s no one right choice to make.

Teaching commitment
My kids are learning these lessons right now.

My 13-year-old daughter is on a club basketball team, and her game wasn’t where she wanted it to be.

So, even though she’s not a morning person, she’s been getting up two to three days per week and getting to the gym at 6:30 a.m. before school.

After just a couple of weeks of work, she had her best weekend yet, upping her average from 12 to 30 points per tournament.
My 10-year-old is also making trade-offs, giving up time with friends as he works to build his first app.

He’s taken a deep dive into coding and has an online class two nights a week.

Most days he’ll come right in for class, even though his friends are playing.

Other nights, it’s harder to pull away.

But he understands he’s made a commitment, and he’s excited about what he has the opportunity to build.

Redefining balance
At the end of the day, I don’t think there’s any such thing as a perfect work-life balance.

When you’re a business owner, balance is more like a seesaw.

There are days I’ll work late and miss dinner, and there are other days I get to sneak out early and go up to our cottage.
But you can’t be on one side of the seesaw for too long.

Pick your timing and hours – if you spend too much time solely focused on your business, you may miss out on important personal moments or burn out.

It’s important to find a balance that makes sense for you, your family, your business and your employees.

Recognize there will be an investment of your time and energy, and choose the moments when you can truly go all in.

Being a business owner often requires unwavering commitment.

While this may entail missing out on certain personal events in the short term, the focus is on creating something greater for oneself and future generations.

Scott Bushkie is the founder and president of Cornerstone Business Services.

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