February - How Does Your Business Rate in Heart Health Month?

February is heart health month, a great time to review what you know about heart attacks and heart health risks, but it’s also a good time to review your business to rate its health. Even though you may have revamped your business somewhat at the beginning of the year, it’s always wise to keep your finger on the pulse of things and do unscheduled as well as scheduled reviews to make sure you're headed in the direction you want your business to go.   

Let’s review our knowledge of heart attacks and how we evaluate them, and then apply a similar approach to rate business. These impromptu business reviews can be used anytime throughout the year.

What We Know About Heart Attacks

According to the American Heart Association (www.heart.org), heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. Annually, both men and women suffer a heart attack but survive and go on to resume a normal life. The heart is a muscle that requires oxygen to survive. As with other injured muscles, the heart that suffers a heart attack can continue to heal and become stronger as the patient returns to a more active life post heart attack. It cannot be overstated that consultations with a cardiac professional are absolutely necessary for progressive, sustained recovery.

What We Know About Our Business

We want our business to succeed; to provide excellent products and customer service, to make excellent profits, to overcome all obstacles that might impede success, and to run smoothly. To those ends, we must adopt a professional business attitude and take every step to ensure that the business we create is not only the business that we want, but that it is also one that clients want and will pay money to interact with us.  

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

Most heart attacks begin slowly, some with mild pain or discomfort, and others come on suddenly and with intense pain or discomfort, leaving little doubt that “I'm having a heart attack.” Heart attack signs and symptoms include (www.heart.org):

  • Chest discomfort: generally in the center of the chest and lasting more than a few minutes, or discomfort that goes away and returns; a feeling of uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body: for example, pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath: with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs: breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

For both men and women, the most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. However, women tend to experience other common symptoms more than men, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, back or jaw pain.

Warning Signs of a Troubled Business

At some points during most businesses, trouble signs begin to appear. If they come about slowly, corrections can be made fairly easily before too much damage happens. Obvious signs include:   

  • Falling profits: either gradual or abrupt
  • Clients unsubscribing from websites and newsletters: never desired
  • Disgruntled employees: virtual and/or on-site personnel
  • Stress combined with a lack of motivation and/or focus: owner and/or employee

Risk Factors of a Heart Attack

Some risk factors¨ cannot be changed (www.heart.org):
  • Increasing Age: About 82% of people who die of coronary heart disease are 65 or older. Older women are more likely than men to die within a few weeks.
  • Gender: Men are at greater risk of heart attack than women and have them earlier in life.
  • Heredity/Race: Children of parents with heart disease are also more likely to develop it. African Americans have more severe high blood pressure than Caucasians and a higher risk of heart disease. Heart disease risk is also higher among Mexican Americans, American Indians, native Hawaiians, and some Asian Americans.

However, you can control and manage© some risk factors (www.heart.org):

  • Smokers: Developing heart disease is 2-4 times that of nonsmokers.
  • High Blood Pressure: Increasing the heart's workload, it causes the heart to thicken and become stiff.
  • High Blood Cholesterol: As blood cholesterol rises, so does risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Diabetes: It seriously increases risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
  • Overweight/Obesity: People with excess body fat, especially at the waist, are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke even without other risk factors. Losing as few as 10 pounds can lower your risk of heart disease.
  • Physical Inactivity: An inactive lifestyle is a risk factor for heart disease.

Risk Factors of a Troubled Business

Generally, a business that experiences a sudden downturn is an indication that something quite major has happened and can frequently result in total shutdown. Some of the causes range from health issues of the business owner (or sudden, unexpected death), grossly mismanaged finances, theft, fire, or other acts of nature. Any of these conditions can render the business inoperable, and the degree to which it recovers is proportional to the availability of supportive resources.   

10 Steps to a Healthier Heart

If you have a heart attack, can you recover? Most likely, yes. To promote a healthier heart, it is essential to take positive steps to making lifestyle changes to reduce risks (www.heart.org):

  • Stop smoking
  • Choose good nutrition
  • Reduce blood cholesterol
  • Lower high blood pressure
  • Be physically active every day
  • Aim for a healthier weight
  • Manage diabetes
  • Reduce stress
  • Limit alcohol
  • … and …  Have a Positive Attitude!

10 Steps to a Healthier Business 
  • Always maintain a professional attitude.
  • Provide great products, excellent, consistent and dependable customer service.
  • Know the ins and outs of your business at all times; goals, clients, finances.
  • Stay focused on your niche; multiply it and expand your opportunities.
  • Get feedback from clients, business partners, and your team.
  • Communicate with employees weekly or monthly about their work issues.
  • Consult with mentors and sponsors on a regular basis.
  • Conduct scheduled and unscheduled, objective business reviews.
  • Keep stress under control by taking frequent breaks in your workday.
  • Have a Positive Attitude and Have Fun!

Whether it’s February or December, periodically perform an unscheduled review for your business to maintain its health, your health, and your team’s health. Celebrate when it does well and fix rough spots when they happen. Rating your business at various times throughout the year strengthens its purpose and direction and also solidifies your brand.  

CYNTHIA BULL (www.cynrje.com) is an internationally published writer and editor who helps international authors, marketers and speakers add greater value to their products through her top-quality writing, editing and transcription services. She is the author of How To Be A Medical Transcriptionist and Winning At Work While Balancing Your Life, a contributing author of Walking with the Wise Entrepreneur (Mentors Publishing House), cited in Make BIG Profits on eBay (Entrepreneur Press), and Managing Editor of Mentors Magazine Think & Grow Rich Edition. Cynthia has created over 200 book products in the past two years for her clients and, as mentor, helps clients reach their goals through her products, experience and genuine caring.

Cynthia writes this feature article exclusively for Debbie May (http://www.debbiemay.com/), an organization dedicated to helping small businesses succeed.