4-Tips to Decrease Stress As A Small Business Owner
Running your own business is stressful. As the owner, you not only have the weight of financing the company, but you’re also responsible for paying a slew of taxes, finding and retaining customers, and maintaining employee morale, among other responsibilities. Leaving stress unaddressed can affect how well you perform all the tasks necessary to keep your business thriving. If you’re running a small business, these tips will help you mitigate stress and become more productive:
Lower your overhead costs.
Money can make or break a business, so it makes sense that it can be a source of great stress. One way to combat the stress is to periodically evaluate your overhead costs. Are there ways you can bring costs down while still running things efficiently? For instance, do you really need that office space you’re leasing? Consider creating a home office to save money; just be sure that the office is separated from your primary living area, and design it to be an inspiring workspace with a comfortable chair, desk, decorations and any other elements that will encourage productivity.
Another way to save on overhead costs is to take advantage of online advertising. Nowadays, you can promote your brand, products and services for free and/or a small fee by using a website builder (rather than hiring a graphic designer), creating a Facebook page, tweeting regularly about your business, keeping business cards handy, and so on. Furthermore, consider switching over to the cloud for your business applications. That way, your apps will automatically update themselves, and you won’t have to regularly pay an IT company for their services.
Along with always looking for ways to reduce overhead costs, it’s important to get comfortable with saying no to people when you need to—whether it’s to a customer’s request, to a partner or employee who is trying to put too much on your plate, or to yourself as you’re taking on other people’s work so that it gets done more quickly. Saying no can be difficult when you’re a business owner because you want the company to succeed, but if you constantly take on too much, the stress will eventually catch up to you and hinder your productivity. If you have able employees, learn to delegate tasks and outsource certain duties when necessary.
Self-care is essential for anyone who wants a high quality of life, and that includes business owners. If you foster your physical, mental and emotional health, it will reduce stress and benefit your work and other areas of life. Make sure you’re eating a well-rounded diet, even if it takes some time to prepare meals for fast-paced days. Try to maintain a regular fitness routine; find a type of exercise you enjoy, and figure out how it will best fit into your schedule (e.g., morning, lunch break, after work). Moreover, don’t underestimate the necessity of a good night’s sleep. You will be much happier and more productive if your mind and body are able to recover and rejuvenate each day.
Lastly, take time off. Stepping away from your work is critical to de-stressing and maintaining balance in your life. Find a hobby or activity that you enjoy, and prioritize it just like you would a business project. It could be going for a walk or meditating during lunch, stopping work at 5:00 to spend time with your family, or taking vacations periodically. Also, when you take time off, unplug from your work. This means saving those phone calls and emails until you’re back in the office. You want to maximize your moments during both your work and home hours.
Stress comes easily when you’re a business owner, and it’s essential to keep it at bay however you can. Remember to look at ways you can reduce overhead costs, such as designing a home office and utilizing free or inexpensive online tools. Learn to say no to people and delegate tasks when necessary. Take care of your overall health and wellbeing, and take quality time off from your work. Some stress is unavoidable when you’re responsible for the success of your company, but what’s important is that you don’t let it dictate your life.
*** Written for Meridian Counseling Gabriel Pate. Gabriel is a blogger with healthwellwise.com. When he isn’t writing, he manages a health food store and enjoys working in his garden and training for his first Ironman.