Many entrepreneurs believe that hard work and dogged determination are all it takes to build and sustain a successful business. But when you consider the pressures of running a company, it seems wise to add effective stress-management to the list. Left unchecked, stress can erode your passion and undermine performance – not to mention, take a serious toll on your health.
Research compiled by Office Vibe reveals that over 70% of professionals regularly experience the physical and mental symptoms of stress. And stress-related illness costs businesses a whopping $200 billion a year in missed work and medical bills.
Wondering how you can stop stress from derailing your productivity, profits, and overall wellbeing? Follow these practical tips for avoiding the main causes of "business burn-out."
So many tasks, so little time!
Busy business owners have notoriously long to-do lists. Without effective strategies for managing time and sharing the load, you'll be forced into a reactive versus proactive position – the perfect storm for chronic stress and impaired decision-making.
Try these approaches to free up more of your time:
- resist the urge to micromanage and begin delegating more tasks to partners and employees
- use a project management tool to prioritize and assign tasks, track progress, and share results with clients (here's a handy list of top-ranked tools)
- hire an accountant to help you navigate taxes and implement year round time and money-saving financial solutions.
Maintaining positive cash flow
All businesses, particularly start-ups, must ensure they have enough cash to keep running after covering expenses each month. Cultivating a consistent cash flow is crucial for managing both your finances and your stress levels. Here are a few ways to stay cash flow positive:
- follow up promptly on unpaid bills, and consider offering an incentive for early bill payment (such as a small discount when payment is received within five days of invoicing)
- be wary of slashing prices: if you must mark down a product or service, be sure you can recover your costs elsewhere
- think "less is more" when purchasing inventory to avoid sinking precious cash into excess stock
- have a trusted employee monitor your cash flow, and inform you once it dips below a certain threshold.
Attracting new customers
Starting to panic because you keep missing your sales goals? Auditing your current approach and implementing better growth strategies is key to alleviating that stress. Here are a few ideas to get started:
- drill down into the behaviors and preferences of your customers, so you can better target your marketing
- analyze each step in your sales process to see where the holes are, and tighten your approach
- use your audience research to develop a new product or service – one that fills a unique need for your customers and gives you a leg up on the competition.
Starting and growing a business takes tremendous energy. But by leveraging skilled help and improving key management processes, you'll learn to pace yourself – and keep that passion burning for years to come.