When was the last time you gave your business a pat on the back? Can you recall a recent time when you felt proud of your business for its accomplishments?

Sometimes, when things are busy and there’s a lot of work to be done, it’s easy to forget that our businesses are living, breathing beings, just like we are. Our businesses are growing and changing. They have needs and I bet they even have wants! As much as we were the ones to create our businesses, each business takes on a life of its own – whether we are aware of it or not.

It’s actually not uncommon for small business owners to be in a battle with their own business, day in and day out. Sometimes we forget to remember and thank our business for being there for us. Sometimes we confuse our own thresholds of success with what’s realistic for our business today. It’s okay to need and want more from your business (whether financially or otherwise).

And it is really easy to wrap up your business’s income and package it together in one big lump with the income you’re most needing to earn personally. But in doing so, you miss out on a beautiful opportunity for your business.

It’s like when my daughter comes home from her preschooler’s art class and shows me her creation while beaming at me. If I judge her artwork using the standards of an art museum curator, I’m going to be missing out on the opportunity of evaluating her artwork for what it truly is – a preschooler’s masterpiece! By using a standard of measurement that most applies to the situation at hand, my evaluation is more appropriate and relevant.

I know that there are days when I beat my business up for being where it’s at because it’s not where I want it to be. By judging my business’ income solely by comparison to my own income desires, I use a standard of measurement that is not the most appropriate for the situation at hand. It’s on that kind of a day, especially on that kind of a day, when I most need to remember to step back and give my business credit.

She’s come a long way in the past three years. Three years ago (in 2006) she was a newborn! After her first birthday she had earned a profit! A teeny-tiny profit, but a profit nonetheless. And now she has grown into a space of her own that’s no longer part of my home. She has a team working for her, many amazing clients, and I’m the leader of this whole enterprise.

Wow. That’s pretty outstanding. When I step back and stop measuring my business against my own needs, my heart swells and I grow very, very proud of her. I can easily witness all that she’s been through, the distance that she’s traveled, and the bright and limitless future that lies ahead for her.

It’s not that I forget about me or what I need. I just take time to have a different vantage point, shifting my perspective so I can give my business credit. The credit that she deserves.

What kind of difference would it make if you were to step back and look at your business on its own?

When I’m feeling overloaded, under appreciated, and as though my business isn’t giving me enough, here’s an activity I do to get back on track with my good friend, my beloved business.

I find a quiet place to sit (which in and of itself can be a challenge!).

I close my eyes.

I picture my business standing on its own.

I picture the business in front of me, as a place I can visit, a place that is not a part of me, but its own entity.

And then I take a moment to recognize what my business has accomplished.

Without rushing into the “What does that mean for me?” step of the process.

I refrain from using the measurement of my own needs when viewing my business. I put myself aside, for a moment or two.

And then I congratulate my business for its success! Or offer consolation for its failure. Sometimes I even ask my business what she needs from me.

I recognize my business for what it is and for what it isn’t. I notice what it is becoming and where its been.

Then, and only then, after giving my business credit, do I measure the business against my own needs.

And when I review the money aspects of my business, I take great care to do so independent of my own finances. It may take a bit more work to keep the money separate and clearly divided by business and personal activities.

But it’s so worth it because when I need to look more closely and review actual dollars and cents, I can take this exercise one step further and really pat my business on the back for making the money that she’s made. Even if what she made isn’t as much as I — as the business owner — would have liked.

And that’s something to give a business credit for. And then, after you give your business credit, remember to congratulate yourself as well – since you’re the one who helped to get it to where it is today!



By Jessica Reagan Salzman