American Psychological Association estimates that the U.S. economy loses more than $500 billion due to workplace stress and also increases the health insurance costs, impacting Small Businesses dearly. Managing stress is important for making the right business decisions and maintaining good personal health.
Even I have personally gone through the whole start-up business cycle (still very much into it) and I often face the complications of managing a small business. After being in relatively stable and well-paying jobs for about 20 years, I quit my last job and ventured on my own. This portal is a part of that same Small Business. Burning through my savings during the startup mode, then taking new initiatives/risks to further grow the business, hiring and retaining the right talent; then carefully planning every financial decision, brutal competition, extensively researching and partnering with good collection agencies to serve businesses like yours, all this takes time and exciting, but takes a personal toll. But self-motivation, ability to controlling the stress and reminding myself that success takes its own sweet time has kept me going fairly good. Receivicomplimentsnts from satisfied customers is personally the biggest stress buster for me.
Managing the stress while running a Small Business requires positive thinking, financial planning and lifestyle changes.
Having a bad week or complications regarding fulfillment of an order? These issues often push frustrations and negative thoughts in our brain. It happens with everyone, but it also prepares us for the tough times.
Simply recollect those ambitious thoughts when you had started this business and all the nice changes it can bring to your life. We need to constantly harness the power that comes out of positive thinking. Maintain a healthy environment, like keeping your desk clean and organized. Are you surrounded by negative and lazy people, then take appropriate action?
Managing Finances / Budgeting:
Growth and expenses are like two ends of a rope with your brain in the center. Each of them pulling your brain towards itself. Faster growth could erode finances too fast; being too conservative could halt your growth.
Managing finances is by far the biggest challenge for all Small Businesses and one of the biggest cause of stress. To balance your growth trajectory, have a well-written plan and stick to it. Have a fairly good reason to alter your plan. Do not take adhoc financial decisions. Before you take a crucial decision, give your sufficient brain time to rethink it. Often an idea which sounds too good at the moment, seems to be “so-so” after a day.
Keeping your Head Cool:
Outbursts can only do harm, they cannot undo what has already happened. Not meeting a target does not mean you need to get terribly upset on an employee, client, vendor or even with yourself. Think practically, we all are humans and mistakes do happen. Why was the target not achieved, it’s possible that you are extremely bullish for a task that needs more time and resources. When things go wrong, keep your head cool and see how things could have been done differently. Learn to let go things.
Success takes time:
It’s completely normal to become restless even though you may have been putting your entire energy and time into your small business. Success takes its own sweet time. May be you are missing out on introducing a feature that would make you stand apart from your competitors.
Keep Watching your Accomplishments too:
Constantly focusing on things that are going wrong will obviously increase your stress by many folds. Regardless it’s “Big or Small”, list all your accomplishments and milestones that you have achieved successfully and place them on your wall. It will give you motivation, positivity and satisfaction.
Make a list and Prioritize your tasks:
Getting overwhelmed with too many tasks? The best way is to write all them in the order of priority, along with an expected date of completion. Many people have a whiteboard marker in their office labeled as “Tasks to do“. I personally prefer using a “Notepad” App on my cell-phone. That “Work-to-do” list is always with me, and I can make alterations pretty much anytime-anywhere. If I need to share it with a team member, I simply “Email/WhatsApp” them.
I even have “New-Ideas” list, that I keep evaluating every now and then, but I land up deleting 95% of those newly added ideas a few days later after thinking them through.
Take a Short Refreshing Break:
To minimize burnout, it is important to take short breaks. This could be as simple as going for a short walk, taking a coffee break, checking the weather outside, calling a friend, watching a video, quick stretches, a quick meditation session or even going to a nearby 7-11 store to buy a $1 lottery ticket. These short breaks are really refreshing and energizing. Force yourself not to think about your work. Your burnout level will drop significantly.
Take Care of the Most Important Asset – You!
Yes, you are the biggest asset of your business. A Small Business owner has to take critical decisions, perform or supervise tasks, pretty much everything.
Eat on time, exercise regularly, release your anxieties and frustrations. Money is often too expensive; it can take away your health. If you feel lonely, party over the weekend with your friends. Hit the gym, or swim, have a life beyond work. Productivity increases if the stress decreases.
You don’t have to say “Yes” to everything:
Small Business owners are often over-used by their clients. Those never-ending small requests eating up too much of your time? Can’t say “No” due to the fear of losing them? Indeed, we do need to fulfill several of these extra demands, but if those list of demands never end or become quite unreasonable, have the courage to say “No”, backed by a solid reason. Well, unless they are ready to pay for the extra cost involved.
Outsource your Accounts Receivables to a Collection Agency:
Recovering money from clients who refuse to pay on time can be really frustrating. It can eventually lead you to write those off as a complete loss in the accounting books.
Creating well-planned policies for common tasks such as recovering money from accounts over 60-90 days past due by involving a professional Debt Collection Agency. It will not only help you to recover some of that lost money but drastically reduce your stress and of your employees.
Developing systems also means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you get a new client or launch a new product.
A low amount of stress is probably fine and may even motivate us to work hard, but an elevated level of stress can actually hurt you. If you do not know how to do something, get in touch with somebody who does.
Money is not everything. Success can sometimes prove to be too costly.