To anyone who doesn’t own a small business, it can appear glamorous in a way. No one knows how difficult it is to get the capital to start! Let alone the hoops through which one must jump via permitting and licensing. That’s just the beginning. There’s marketing, networking, staffing, payroll, inventory and a million other things in a constant balancing act! I’m getting anxious just thinking about it, aren’t you?
Well, STOP. First, let’s take a deep breath. Now another. You’re basically a meditating master, now. You’re welcome! Seriously though, follow the directions in the gif and breathe through it for a minute. We’re going to talk about how to manage stress as a small business owner.
First things first, you must remember that YOU ARE NOT YOUR BUSINESS. Your business is four walls and a ceiling with some stuff in there. You are a flesh and blood human being with basic needs. Don’t neglect those things!
SLEEP. Sleep is the under-sung hero of success. If you’re working exhausted, you are more prone to mistakes, accidents, and forgetfulness. Not to mention, it just makes you feel more stressed out when you’re tired. It can also cause your relationships with staff and clients suffer if you’re snappy, snarly, and unfocused. Remember, no one is handing out any awards for who works the most tired or hurt. The twin of sleep is physical activity! Find a fun thing that works for you. Yoga, frisbee, dog walking, axe throwing, underwater basket weaving; whatever makes you feel good and gets you moving! You will be amazed at how much regular exercise (even if it isn’t vigorous) will reduce stress.
EAT. Don’t just roll through drive through after drive through. Keep healthy, nutritionally dense snacks nearby or consider a multi-vitamin. If you aren’t getting your micronutrients you’ll feel less vibrant, focused, and capable. You have to feed your mind and body! Part of this is keeping yourself hydrated. Dehydration can cause severe headaches, insomnia, and a litany of other health problems.
Next, make sure you keep your focus on what you’re doing RIGHT. It can be so easy to focus on opportunities for improvement, but being in a state of hyper-vigilance or constant criticism can leave you feeling brittle. Give yourself the grace you’d give your best friend or child! Remind yourself that you’re AWESOME! You wouldn’t be where you’re at without an incredible work ethic and passion. Never forget it!
This next one is a little more hands on. Prioritize your tasks. As an example, pretend you’re setting a budget, only instead of money, you’re spending energy. Rank what tasks are the most important and do those first. It might be contacting all of your client’s to see how they’re doing or what they need. It might be connecting with your staff, doing inventory, ordering supplies, etc. Whatever the need may be, rank your top three priorities and complete them in order of importance. Once the hardest tasks are out of the way, you’ll find that you breeze through the rest of your work for the day!
The last tip is incredibly important. You’ve heard the term, “It takes a village?” What about, “No man is an island unto himself”? You absolutely can do everything yourself, but at what cost? If you have close bonds with your family, staff, community, and business network think of ways that you can lean on those bonds. It can be hard to let stuff go, but consider asking your business network for referrals. Ask your family to share your social media marketing. See if your staff will make posts for you or do the inventory. Work with other businesses in your community and enjoy the symbiotic relationships that you will build! Just because you can do it all solo, doesn’t mean you should.
Some of these tips might have seemed like a no-brainer, but sometimes we all need a reminder that we’re only human. You have to eat your greens and drink water (yes, your mama was right). You need to get ample rest and exercise. (Yes, she was right about that, too.) Give yourself grace. Be kind to yourself when you’re struggling or need a break. Breakdown your priorities and rank their importance. Trust your village and learn to ask for help.