If you’ve ever seen Parks and Recreation, you know that Leslie Knope is not just an entertaining character, but also a hard-working, passionate, and inspiring individual. Just like a business owner.
We recently interviewed Leslie Knope (probably) to see what advice she had for business owners. After paging through binders full of notes, she shared the following tips with us...
You Need a Support Team
Even Leslie Knope doesn’t always have it all together. Sometimes she needs her best friend to tell her that life will be okay. So don’t alienate yourself. Make sure you’re surrounded by your community. When you need some encouragement, reach out to people and ask for it.
The flip side is that you need to encourage your own team as well. There will be days that your staff or friends will need that extra support. Just a text message saying “Everything is going to be okay” can really go a long way. Of course, feel free to mix it up and use more “business owner” lingo, such as “It’s alright, Mrs. Tanner. Just keep on keepin' on.” (Leslie's words, not ours.)
Be Constantly Reflecting
While spending too much time in the past isn’t healthy, looking back and reflecting is a good practice. This is important for practical reasons, like making better business decisions. You must constantly be evaluating what’s working and what isn’t.
But this is also important for inspirational reasons. Look at where your business is now. Where was it six months ago? A year ago? Five years ago? The progress that you’ve made is a reminder of the greatness you are capable of achieving. Constantly reflect, then make any necessary changes to move forward.
If you’re not a breakfast lover, then why are you even reading this post?? How do you even exist? (Sorry, Leslie took over the computer for a second… we’re back at the keyboard now.)
The point is, priorities are key. If you don’t prioritize your life, then someone else will. You have to know what matters and you must make time for those things.
You can’t say yes to everything. Only say “yes” to things that you can’t imagine saying “no” to, rather than jumping at every new opportunity. Have a process for evaluating what’s important, whether it’s decisions about how to spend your time, how to spend your budget, or even who to interact with.
You are likely your biggest critic. There’s no doubt that you sell yourself short and underestimate yourself. We all do.
But Leslie's a little different. While she has many important role models in her life, she isn’t afraid to admit that she’s inspired by herself. Who wouldn’t be?
So, instead of beating yourself up, don't be afraid to inspire yourself. Think of all of the good you're doing, all the work you’ve put into your business, and all of the customers you are helping. Chances are you'll be impressed.
We asked Leslie how she manages to do so much. “My job is easy," she told us. "The real question is - how do business owners do everything?" She continued, "They have to manage a facility, coordinate staff, change lives, take care of a budget, and a thousand other things. And most of them have to wake up before the sun comes up. "
The point is, you work hard. Really hard. And you’ll likely have to keep doing that for a long time. But you can do it. You always find a way to make it happen, and you know hard work pays off. Keep it up!
Look Out For Leslie
After doing her interview with us, Leslie became so impressed with the work that business owners do that she promised to visit each and every one of you during her upcoming presidential campaign. In the meantime, keep your BFFs close by and don't forget to eat your waffles.