Five Tips for Jewish Businesses in the New Year
The High Holy Days are a time for personal reflection. We consider our successes and our failings, and commit ourselves to doing better before God, family and friends in the coming year.
But now is also a good time to think about how we can do better in business — because business, after all, is nothing more than an interaction between people. When our businesses thrive, our communities thrive. Whether you’ve had a great year in business, or not, here are a few things to consider for the New Year:
1. Step outside your comfort zone. It’s easy to get caught up in our own success, and think that it will last forever. But comfort in business can lead to complacency. That’s why it’s critical to step outside your comfort zone, and try something new. Are your skills up to speed? Should you go back to school? Are you current with the latest trends in digital marketing? Do you need to network more? By constantly refreshing and challenging ourselves, we can identify new opportunities and stay one-step ahead of the competition.
2. Work-life balance. When you own a company, your job is 24/7. But are you giving your personal life enough attention? All entrepreneurs sacrifice things, but we must be careful not to neglect other important aspects of our lives. Organize your work to allow for real time for family and personal pursuits — and, yes, that means sometimes turning off your mobile device. Your business can only be as healthy as your family and personal relationships.
3. Congratulate yourself. Entrepreneurs are self-critical by nature, always striving to do more — and to do better. Yet before being too hard on yourself for failures in the past year, allow yourself a pat on the back for the things that you did well. Acknowledge your hard work, and more importantly, the hard work of your employees. Take the time to feel good about what you’ve accomplished, and to make sure that your entire team feels part of it. By starting on a positive note this year, you’ll be better positioned mentally and emotionally to address your mistakes and take corrective action in the months ahead.
4. Make tzedakah part of your business. We all give to charity — whether at a community event, to our shul or to those in need. But can you do more to make tzedakah part of your business? That doesn’t mean giving away all of your hard-earned profits; it means finding ways to make giving back part of your company’s core values. Take what charity work you already do, and incorporate it into your business. Let customers and employees identify your good work with your company’s brand.
5. Study more. Learning is central to Judaism — yet running a business can be all-consuming, leaving very little time for intellectual pursuits unrelated to your company. Whether it’s studying Torah, reading books or taking art classes, learning new things will keep your mind sharper, more productive and open to new perspectives. When you see learning as a business objective, you’ll find the time for it.
Joel Klein, CPBC, is a rabbi and creator/producer of BizTank, a “Shark Tank” style program designed for Jewish entrepreneurs and investors.