Slow Business - Can slow living principles apply to business?

Slow Business - Can slow living principles apply to business?

We've all heard about slow living, slow food, slow fashion and yet no ones talking about slow business! Recently, we have been enjoying diving into the subject of slow business - what it means and how it can look for business owners.

Within our weekly small business circles, we’ve been talking about how slow living principles can apply to business and, of course, being a fact finder at heart, the first thing I did was google "what are the main principles of slow living?" I thought that if I started there, I’d be able to see if, and how these same principles could apply to business. Surprisingly it was a lot simpler than I thought. In fact, many of the slow living practices can easily be applied to business.. but a couple of them are a little more challenging and will definitely be topics for the circle to discuss in more detail.

Below you'll find the 10 guiding principles for slow living* and how I think you could apply each of them to running an ethical and conscious business.

1. Understand busyness and that it is a choice. Wow, what a start. How powerful is this idea within the realm of business? How often do you find yourself being busy for the sake of being busy or working on some deadline or task that you’ve actually GIVEN YOURSELF, a deadline that nobody else knows about, cares about and wouldn't know if you didn't do! Now, I'm not saying throw all of your goals and tasks out of the window but sometimes we think being busy is the answer when it's actually the problem. This leads on lovely to point number two...

2. Define what is most important to you - your essentials. This is so deeply aligned with our way of working. We talk all of the time about finding our essential truth and our core values and sticking to them. Whether you call it a mission statement, a core focus or anything else, we believe that it is absolutely essential to drill down into these essentials for your business and to let it be your guide on all decisions. 

3. Say no to everything else - non-essentials. This is getting kind of creepy how well it applies to our business philosophy. We always ask, what are the things that are distracting you or pulling you away from your core focus at the moment? Are these side projects diluting your time and your business, and bringing you away from things that you really need to be focussing on? Practicing the art of saying NO will do wonders for your life and for your business. 

4. Start slow and small by downshifting. This is an interesting one and has challenged me more so than the others. Downshifting means making moves away from a fast pace life usually by working less hours and sometimes by moving out of a busy area like a city and perhaps moving somewhere more rural. However, I do think this can apply to business if we take the idea of simplifying and the act of moving slower in decision making. By making conscious and deliberate decisions instead of favouring unsustainable growth, I think we can practice the slow and small mentality. 

5. Practice being present, even in the mundane. I think this is actually a really important part of owning a business that nobody talks about. Often we see the highs of business, the events, the product launches, the bits you put online but in reality the majority of business can be admin and mundane tasks. I think by acknowledging that all of it is a choice and learning to appreciate these tasks can be very rewarding. Whilst business isn't always as romantic as it looks online, we can still find ways to be present and enjoy the mundane.

6. Create space and margin in your day and life. This is another one that can be so important for running a business. Finding ways to prioritise yourself and your well-being over business can dramatically improve not only your mental attitude towards work but in can help you get the best out of you and your business. The word 'create' is essential here, it's not enough to just hope you get the balance right, by creating space for other aspects of life it gives it the importance it deserves, so schedule in that 1 hour in your calendar to go for a walk or brunch - if it helps you feel good, it will help your business. 

7. Adapt a slow information diet. In the context of slow living, a slow information diet usually applies to not getting too lost in the mainstream news and instead choosing slower, informed and reliable sources where you go to for news. This concept prevents you from getting sucked into lots of different bits of information floating around that are not necessarily true but are being used to create fear or other hidden agendas. I think the way to apply the slow information diet to business would be to actively try not to get sucked into all of the marketing jargon that surrounds you - videos saying if you do this you will get these results and all the business hacks that will "double your revenue". So much of this noise can feel overwhelming and confusing and can also make you doubt yourself, thinking that your results are not good enough. I think adopting a slow information diet in the business world can be a really positive decision. 

8. Commit to putting your life over work. This is obviously an interesting one to apply to running a business but I actually think that it’s the most important one of all. Ask yourself, why did you start this business in this first place? I know a lot of time the answers are... to spend more time with my family, to have financial freedom, to have more control over my life... all of these answers follow the same theme, the desire for freedom and control. So now ask yourself, what's the point if you're not getting that? I'm a firm believer that if you do go slower, if you do look after yourself then both you and your business will benefit from it. I’m not saying that you should stop working all together but I’m saying that if you’ve done the general things you need and want to do in life before sitting at  your computer then your work will be better!

9. Get outside physically to connect dots mentally. I agree with this so much, I actually wrote this entire blog via voice note whilst out on a walk, from a moment of fleeting inspiration. Being outside, taking a break and clearing your head are all essential for when you’re struggling to make a decision or just feeling like you’ve got too much on your plate to get creative. Getting outside and going for a walk can be the absolute best way to get back on track. I am forever inspired when I’m out walking in nature and that’s when my best ideas come.

10. Find inspiration in the slow living community This totally applies to slow business. Connecting with other businesses that you align with, will uplift you and give you inspiration. One of the reasons we started Rebrandr, was to experience this level of connection and to create a community of inspired business owners. Surrounding yourself with these types of people will change everything. 

All in all, my verdict is that you can very much apply the key slow living principles to running a business and in fact, if you do so, I wholeheartedly believe that our businesses will thrive.

* reference for the 10 principles of slow living : 

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