Common Stresses – and Reliefs – of Small Business Owners
Being a small business owner doesn’t come with a job description, and more often than not it includes unforeseen stresses and challenges that are out of the business owner’s control. As a result, more and more entrepreneurs are finding ways to balance the demands of business in both practical and surprising ways.
Common Stress #1: Lack of Control
While being your own boss may appear to put you in the driver’s seat, working with external business partners, clients, investors and other outside parties puts you in a position where you lack control. Sure, you may have influence… but that’s isn’t the same as identifying all end results. This can cause many small business to gain stress and seek resolution. Unfortunately, guaranteeing the results or even the answers you want to happen are not always possible. To help manage this, consider accepting that not all decisions will be made in your favor and aim to have a positive outlook on even those decisions that are not. Naturally, we want to always “win” or complete whatever it is we aim to achieve, but reality tells us that this isn’t always the case. Appreciating your wins and accepting what you can’t control can help calm these frustrating situations. According to a study by Happify.com – a company committed to supporting scientific happiness – you can also benefit from listening to music, taking a walk, being with friends or doing something you enjoy that has nothing to do with your work. These escapes from your professional responsibilities – even if brief – can help support you in being less stressed about what you can’t control.
Common Stress #2: Reacting Too Soon & Too Fast
So often in business, people react to decisions without actually taking actions to better support them. As a small business owner, this is particularly important since your actions dictate company results. Reactions, however, are often emotionally driven and as a result, do not effectively support business decisions. To help ease the urge to react to something versus support it with a professional action, take time to listen, analyze the situation, consider multiple responses to it and breathe. Yes… breathe. Giving yourself time to evaluate situations versus abruptly reacting to them can not only help your business, but also better support your stress levels.
Common Stress #3: No Time to “Do It All”
Depending on your version of “doing it all”, 24 hours a day is likely not enough to get everything you want done. Between the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night – according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine – and the unspoken belief that entrepreneurs need to work 70 plus hours a week to be successful, doing it all seems nearly impossible. Accepting this is key to eliminating some stress, though it would be foolish to imagine this would eliminate all stress. By acknowledging you can only do so much in one day and accepting that your health – including sleep, exercise and eating habits – all contribute to your overall professional performance, you can better manage your day-to-day stresses. Budgeting time to work out, allocating certain hours for family and / or friends only and choosing to not check emails during certain hours of the day are all proven ways to help manage your busy workload and eliminate stress. The real challenge, however, is to keep to whatever schedule you put in place – as there are always interruptions and opportunities to sway you away from the schedule you have identified as best for both you and your business.
While stress isn’t formally identified as a job description of entrepreneurs, it comes with the territory and should be considered along the way. A final tip in supporting the stress levels most small business owners have is to accept failure as part of the small business ride. Of course, no one wants to fall down and never get back up… that certainly isn’t the goal… but along most small business owner’s adventures includes moments – if not longer experiences – where failure seems to outshine success. Don’t let this get you down or ruin your big picture plans. Instead, simply evaluate why something didn’t work and how you can better perform, react to a situation or plan ahead for next time. In the ahead, it just may be those failures and stresses along the way that rise you to the success you’re aiming for.
Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle –Contributor
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
10/13/2014 @ 5:09PM