Be a healthy business owner
When you are a franchise owner, taking care of your personal health is just as important as your business’ health. Here Derin Clark explains why being fit and healthy is so important and tips on how to become a healthy business owner
Launching a franchise is both exciting and nerve-wracking. It’s probably the first time you have owned your own business and been completely in control of your working life, so you’re determined to make it a success.
If you have spoken to a successful franchise owner, they will have likely told you that getting your business started takes a lot of hard work and commitment. You will probably find yourself working long hours, sometimes six or even seven days a week, but you know that in a few years the hard work will have paid off.
While this level of commitment is important, it can also lead you to overlooking another vital aspect to running a successful business – taking care of your health and fitness.
Why is being fit and healthy so important to running a business? Firstly, research has shown that those who are fit and healthy tend to be happier, more productive, have greater energy levels, and better concentration. Basically, all the core traits needed to run a successful business.
Secondly, fit and healthy people tend to suffer less from illnesses and, when they do get sick, they often recover quicker. As a franchise owner there will be no one to take over your business if you are ill, so it makes sense to invest in your wellbeing now.
For some franchise owners a good level of health and fitness is an essential part of running their business. A prime example is weight loss franchises, as who wants to go to a weight loss consultant who is unfit and overweight themselves?
Although taking care of yourself is important, many franchise owners have difficulty fitting it into their busy daily lives. If this sounds like you, then below are some tips to help you achieve good health and fitness levels, while still enabling you to concentrate on your business.
In the 1987 film Wall Street, businessman Gordon Gekko famously said ‘Lunch is for wimps’, but today this notion is as outdated as the film.
Most nutritionists will advise that you eat regular meals throughout the day to keep your energy levels up. Although many franchise owners struggle to fit eating properly into their day it is important that you have three meals a day, which ideally consist of a mix of carbohydrates, protein and vegetables.
It is well known that if you do need to snack between meals it is better to chose healthier options such as fresh fruit or nuts over fatty processed foods like crisps and chocolates. However, you should also be careful of eating low fat foods, as many of these substitute the fat with sugar. Another common healthy pitfall is eating cereal bars, which also often contain a lot of fat and sugar. Foods with excess sugar usually give you an initial burst of energy, but will leave you feeling hungry and tired in the long run.
As well as watching what you eat, you should also take note of what you are drinking. You might need a cup of coffee or tea in the morning to get you started, but if you are relying on four or more cups to keep you going throughout the day it is probably time to start cutting down. Fizzy and energy drinks, including the diet or light options, also contain a lot of caffeine and sugar, so try to avoid these as well. Good alternatives are water, herbal teas, and diluted fruit juices.
Being fit is just as important as eating well in maintaining good health. Exercising will help to increase your energy, help you to de-stress, helps to prevent diseases, and will release endorphins in your brain which promote a sense of wellbeing.
For most busy people, however good their intentions, it can be hard to fit in the recommended 30 to 60 minutes of exercise, three times a week, into their full schedules. Despite this, it is still important that you do try to add some exercising to your weekly routine.
Many business people find scheduling exercise into their diary, like they would for a meeting, helps them to keep to their fitness programme and most find activities like jogging, swimming and cycling are great ways of keeping fit while also helping to lower stress levels.
Alternatively, walking is a fantastic way of keeping fit, even if it is just a 30-minute walk a day during your lunch break.
If you would rather do something more social try taking up a sport, such as golf or football. This is a great way of combining exercise and socialising at the same time.
In recent years, a growing number of business owners have been turning to pilates and yoga as their choice of fitness regimes. These low impact exercises are becoming popular because they help to promote calmness and relaxation, plus they are great for toning-up.
When people are trying to be healthy they often forget one of the most key aspects to maintaining good health – sleep.
Getting a minimum of seven hours sleep a night is just as important as eating well and exercising. Sleep helps you to loose weight, allows your body to recover from exercising, helps to prevent you from suffering from physical fatigue and helps you to remain mentally alert.
If you find it hard to shut off from thinking about your business try to find ways of relaxing before going to bed, even if it is just watching half an hour of television or reading a book. If you still have trouble shutting off, making a list of all the things you need to get done the next day might help to clear your mind.
Just as important as getting a good night’s sleep is finding time to relax. Spend time with your family and friends, or if you have a hobby aim to do it for at least a few hours a week.
Taking time away from thinking about your business will help you to see it from a fresh perspective, helping you to come up with new ideas and resolve ongoing issues. Time away will also help to rejuvenate your enthusiasm for your business.
As a franchise owner you are fully reliant on yourself for your income, so spending a few hours a week in ensuring you are fit, healthy and up to the challenge of running your business is just as important as the time and energy you put into your everyday working routine.