How to Keep Yourself from Sinking as a Small Business Owner
Starting a small business can be a highly stressful and time-consuming task. While the rewards for putting up with these pressures may be obvious, that doesn’t make the process any less challenging. Whether you feel overwhelmed or have issues with working long hours and lack of sleep, this sinking feeling is common among all business owners and entrepreneurs.
The question is, how can you avoid or combat these crazy days?
With the right approach, and a change of attitude or behaviour, many of these issues are entirely avoidable. Let’s look at how you can counter that sinking feeling and turn crazy days into the moments that propel you forward as a small business owner:
How to Counter that Sinking Feeling and Navigate the Crazy Days
Focusing on Diet and Exercise
Let’s be honest, health goes out the window for many owners in the preliminary stages of a small business. However, diet and exercise are crucial factors when it comes to managing or defusing stress, which is one of the key traits of most successful entrepreneurs. Neglecting health is certain to impact your ability to run and maintain a successful business.
But how can you manage health or wellness at the same time as a business?
Exercise – It’s important to set time aside for exercise. Whether you hit the gym or go for a run in the evenings, plan these activities and execute them as though they were part of the business strategy. Regular exercise can help you react in times of stress. If you happen to feel a little overwhelmed, take a midday stroll, or if you have time, even a short, thirty-minute workout at the gym. Sometimes, even getting up from your desk and having a five-minute conversation with a co-worker can ease the daily grind.
Nutrition – When it comes to stress, the first thing to go is nutrition. Nutrition is something you can do from anywhere. Always drink plenty of water and avoid sugary and caffeinated beverages whenever possible. Instead of running out for a fast food for lunch, consider preparing a healthy salad or grabbing something light that won’t leave you feeling bloated.
Small business owners have many obligations, but health and wellness are two of the most important obligations and priorities for success.
Knowing the Importance of Sleep
According to Matthew Walker, author of the book “The Importance of Sleep,” most people neglect the importance of sleep and cites lack of sleep as the cause for the inability to perform tasks of any kind. You should make time to ensure adequate sleep and fully expect that any less will impair your ability to get things done.
Many of the most successful business owners are early risers. In fact, scientific studies show that the brain is often most active during the early hours of the morning. If you want to rise early, you also need to get to bed early and this usually takes discipline. In “The Importance of Sleep,” Walker explains that creating the perfect sleep environment can drastically decrease stress and significantly improve productivity.
Takeaway: Enough sleep is critical to performance and success. Make a habit of going to bed early.
Writing Everything Down
You know, overthinking is often the main cause of stress in the first place. In “Getting Things Done,” by David Allen, the best-selling author says that while thoughts and ideas are a good thing, they can also distract from getting the task done. An overcrowded mind leaves little space or time to put these thoughts into action.
The process of writing things down can remove these ideas from the mind and de-clutter the thought process. To achieve this, you can a physical journal or one of the many note-taking apps now available on mobile devices.
Takeaway: Less thinking leaves more time for doing.
Installing Systems that Save Time
For many entrepreneurs, time management is one of the most challenging aspects of scaling their business. There are, again, systems you can install that can solve most time related issues and help small businesses grow instead of struggling to keep up.
For example, instead of looking for new clients, they get that sinking feeling when there is simply not enough time to get things done. On the other hand, some business owners get this same feeling when sales are low, or they find it difficult to attract new customers.
Now, every business requires a different system but project management tools such as Trello or Asana can handle almost any type of process within a business. What’s more, Asana or Trello are completely free and allow business owners to create a clear strategy and process for daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.
Takeaway: Systems allow business owners to save time and delegate tasks.
Creating a Support Team
In recent surveys conducted by SurePayroll, more than 17% of small business owners cited hiring new employees as the reason for improved profits. As if that’s not enough, more than 50% of these business owners were confident of surpassing revenue from the previous year.
But what does this mean to you?
Well, you may or may not be feeling optimistic right now, but hiring fresh staff is just one of many ways to reduce stress and instill a renew sense of purpose in your business.
It may be time to recruit someone to share the work load or even just a virtual assistant to help with day to day tasks. On the other hand, networking with other business owners can be a great benefit as it means having someone to share or understand this burden. You can achieve this by creating a sense of community around the business using social media.
Takeaway: Every entrepreneur and business owner can benefit from support, but this support or community is usually something you need to create.
Starting and running a small business comes with a lot of responsibility. As a business owner, you rarely receive thanks or praise for achievements. At the same time, while we need to respect these obligations or challenges, we also need to plan for the inevitable sinking feeling and take measures that will help us navigate the crazy days that lie ahead.