I spent a month in Italy this winter. Working with businesses that are abroad during my career I was often in awe and wonder as to how they could literally shut down for holidays and not answer emails and take orders. It’s a foreign concept to us American business owners. In my travels, I discovered five things that you can adopt as a business owner that can contribute to your wellness.
Closed means Closed. It doesn’t mean I’ll check my email, it doesn’t mean, I’ll return my voicemails, it means “We Are Closed”. Regardless if it’s the middle of the afternoon, or for a national holiday. Business owners in Italy give themselves permission to enjoy time off, recharge, and spend time with family and friends. Set your “out of office” message and give yourself permission to enjoy your vacation.
Stick to your Culture. In Rome I found that many of the restaurants in tourist areas that catered to those that needed menus in English, but I found if I wandered a few blocks away from the tourist areas, I stumbled across restaurants that had menus strictly in Italian and offered a more true cultural experience to those that ventured out. As a result my experience with those businesses that stuck to their culture, provided for a more authentic and memorable experience in Italy. Define the culture for your company and stick to the morals and values that comprise it.
Pistachio Gelato should not be green. Neither should Mint Chip. When canvassing Rome for Gelato, I learned that those shops that sourced natural ingredients, and made their Gelato on site, were the places that be your “go to” for your daily Gelato fix. Incorporating natural ingredients or components for your business and making things on site, can provide your customers with a better product, and gives you better quality control.
Not all roads are meant for cars. Although Italians might beg to differ, there are truly some roads in this amazing country that are meant for slower travel, on foot. Cobblestone pathways that require balance, and full attention while navigating. It’s important to look at the things in your business that aren’t meant to be at full throttle, seek out the parts that are meant to be handled a little more delicately.
Give yourself permission to deviate. In Italy, wandering the alleyways of a large city or a small village can provide you with some amazingly delightful surprises. Coming across a tucked away jewelry store, or a hidden coffee bar contribute to having an amazing day. Give yourself permission as a business owner to wander and explore. Look at new options or ways to do things. Look at a project without having a structured plan.
Originally published at medium.com