We entrepreneurs sweat a lot. Our perspiration is the result of a lot of heavy lifting. It’s the byproduct of many a nervous moment whether it be scrambling to make a payroll or waiting to find out if we won a major contract. We’ve all heard the phrase – “don’t sweat the small stuff.” But what exactly does this mean? Someone needs to write a handbook for entrepreneurs on what we should sweat about! So here goes.
Don’t sweat what type of new office furniture to buy. Do sweat whether salespeople are spending too much time sitting on the new office furniture instead of meeting face-to-face with customers. Don’t sweat if the receptionist is wearing a sundress that is an inch too short. Do sweat how the receptionist is greeting customers in person and on the phone. Don’t sweat whether the expense report format is just right. Do sweat whether it’s clear to the team what expenses are eligible for the expense report.
Don’t sweat the design of the uniforms for the company softball team. Do sweat a bad Google customer review. Don’t sweat that someone parked over the line in the parking lot. Do sweat the cleanliness of the public restrooms in your place of business. Don’t sweat the fact that a team member seemed snippy to you this morning. Do sweat whether you made eye contact with and cheerfully greeted every team member you saw this morning. Don’t sweat the proposal binder that started to come apart in your client meeting. Do sweat the manner you differentiated your product or service in that proposal. Don’t sweat the naming conventions for your electronic files. Do sweat the critical documentation that needs to be in those files.
Don’t sweat those e-mails from colleagues that ramble on forever. Do sweat the content of the e-mails and what might be discoverable in some future litigation. Don’t sweat how much it costs for lunch with a customer. Do sweat how much that lunch helped to improve your relationship with the customer. Don’t sweat how you looked in a candid photo at the company picnic that was posted on your company’s Facebook page. Do sweat whether you made sure that every member of your team felt appreciated and valued at the company picnic. Don’t sweat it that you could only afford $25 gift cards for your team at Christmas. Do sweat whether your team members see you as a genuine and authentic leader.
Don’t sweat not taking credit for the successful completion of a project you led. Do sweat sharing the credit with members of your team that ensured the success of that project. Don’t sweat being a little late for the weekly game of pickle ball with friends. Do sweat being a few minutes early for a client presentation. Don’t sweat the fact that the restaurant mixed up your dinner order. Do sweat the note of condolence to be written to a team member who just lost a loved one. Don’t sweat that your name wasn’t mentioned in a newspaper article about your company. Do sweat whether your company will be mentioned in a newspaper investigative report for mishandling a customer complaint.
Don’t sweat the details of the co-pay on your company’s new health insurance plan. Do sweat the details of your company’s ten-year vision. Don’t sweat the wording of your personnel handbook’s section on the dos and don’ts of copy machine usage. Do sweat the wording of the contract you are about to sign for a major equipment purchase. Don’t sweat trying to look like a hipster in your new clothes. Do sweat looking to your team like a confident and competent leader. Don’t sweat bailing out on the umpteenth all-hands conference call to discuss (ad nauseum) the final changes to the company training manual. Do sweat making it to your daughter’s school musical in which she is performing.
Yes, there are plenty of things to sweat about and plenty of things to not. The trick is figuring out what’s important and what is not. The best measure is to focus on what is best for your customers and your team members. Much of the rest may be superfluous.
This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.