Updated: Dec 31, 2020
Holistic Business Practices treat people and elements of businesses as a whole and not as separate entities. These practices benefit the well-being of individuals and result in long-term sustainable success for businesses. Create a holistic work environment by establishing boundaries and simplicity through objectives and goals.
Creating boundaries to ensure success is often overlooked but can lead to increased creativity and a surprise burst of ingenuity when defining limits you have not explored. Here is an abstract exercise that helps demonstrate the impact of boundaries when paired with simplicity. Lead with your fingertips or your elbows, then begin moving your body to see how the rest of your body naturally follows. You do not need to worry about moving fast or slow or even playing music. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Did you discover new or interesting ways you can move that you may not have explored without having any boundaries?
Contemplate, if you are choosing a finite amount of projects and initiatives for your startup. Then ask yourself, how far can you grow and in how many ways? Alternatively, if you want unlimited options for what your business will take on, then what is your capacity to fill that demand?
Our world is full of technological advances, and content continually calling us to engage as the next big thing. How do we know how much external input to absorb and when? Here are three tips for creating and maintaining powerful boundaries and fruitful simplicity in our work.
1. Select one core task that is grounded in a concept that helps you reach an end goal. This will help mitigate excess clutter when planning. You can check this core task by making sure it leads back to one overarching theme such as your companies mission or vision. Begin to move new ideas into buckets of things that lead back to your company's mission directly and others that don’t. When doing this try not to place a value judgment on the bucket you place the idea or task in. Just define it so you can tackle it with clarity when the time is right.
Once you differentiate the types of endeavors you are responding to, start to rank them against time, importance, demand, and resources — for example, money or team members. As Black and Brown women with startups, often with little funding, it's critical not to stretch yourself too thin at the expense of a larger goal. After defining a system for easy decision making with projects, now begin to modify the external expectation to receive the most out of your work.
The pressures of thinking we need to do many things well and in high volumes to be successful can sometimes defeat us before we start or shortly after. Remember to ask yourself, is this new idea or request in line with your mission? Is it a passion project or a request that's distracting you from your central vision? Then decide to keep the task, let it go, or perhaps complete it later as a non-primary objective.
2. To help you stay on track, use this boundary exercise. Write a boundary you want to protect, why you want to protect it, and an action to reinforce it.
Example: Managing Expectations
Boundary: Not allowing clients to be unaware of time constraints when making requests.
Why protect it: It can potentially impede planned progress if clients need you to adjust other priorities to assist them quickly as a contractor.
Action: Be sure clients know the most concise way to make requests. This could be through an online form or a direct email listing the full details. Consider adding a small rush fee or a stop time when no more same-day requests are possible. In cases where you have to make exceptions to complete the work for your clients, they also must know you have created an atypical arrangement to assist them. Finally, your customers must know you appreciate their business. It's a balance between best customer care practices and consistent yet firm expectations.
3. Be mindful not to create an overly packed schedule. People will want a piece of your time, but managing urgency and time is critical for both parties. There are times where you can make a well-formed business arrangement if you honor your time as well as others. Sometimes a well-written email is more effective than a meeting. Keep in mind to leave a little wiggle room in your schedule for unforeseen opportunities that could amplify prior commitments.
Strengthening objectives and reaching your goals is vital to the growth of your business, but if you're not clear and firm with your boundaries, this can impact your capacity to be sustainable. It's easy to want to enhance things as we get going, but the results can often become lost through multiple demands. Simplify to amplify by anchoring your goals with Holistic Business Practices. Include boundaries with clear and simple processes for maintaining important limitations. This will serve your bottom line while also keeping you on track.
Author Tiffany Spearman is Head of Strategic Partnerships and Outreach at Black Girl Ventures and Creator of Holistic Business Practices.