Managing the Stress of Running a Small Business

operating a small businessEvery successful small business owner will tell you that one of the keys to successfully getting a small business off the ground is stress management. Stress is an unavoidable aspect of small business ownership and management. There will be times when it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and you will want to quit. Implementing practices to manage your stress is crucial to the longevity of your business and to your own health and wellness. Every small business owner needs to discover their own personal solution to the burden of stress, but below are some general guidelines to assist you in finding your way.

  • Good planning. It is critical to be on top of your planning requirements when you are a small business owner. Do not enter into any business day, event or situation blind. Always foresee every business encounter and operation before it happens. This means plan ahead financially, logistically and mentally for anything that could happen so as not to be taken by surprise. Have strategies in place daily to ensure the smooth operation of all business necessities.
  • Hard work. There is no small business opportunity that does not require a business owner to put their back into their work and stretch their necks out a little. If a small business is to survive, its owner needs to expect challenges, crises and setbacks, and needs to be willing to lean into them and overcome them. This is not for the faint of heart or weak of mind. A person needs to have their feet firmly on the ground and take life by the horns in order to accomplish this.
  • Find an outlet. Another stress management tactic that small business owners attest to having an outlet for stress to turn to. Even the most overworked individuals need to engage in some kind of therapeutic activity to keep themselves balanced. Small business owners do not have a great deal of free time to fit therapeutic activities into, but what little free time they have needs to be devoted to an activity such as exercise, meditation, nature recreation, gardening or any number of favorite hobbies.

The Stress of Running a Small Business

small business stressRunning a small business comes with a great many rewards, but in order to receive them, one must defeat the stress that comes with small business ownership. Stress is an unavoidable part of beginning a small business because of the weight of the expectations that fall on the owner’s shoulders. It has been said that no one knows hard work like a thriving small business owner because of the number of responsibilities they juggle. Among the most common stress factors that small business owners unanimously face are:

  • Time management issues. Those starting a new business are often very short handed when it comes to staff. Hiring often cannot begin until revenue is made, which means all the operational and managerial responsibilities usually fall on the owner when the business first opens. This can create next to impossible time management situations, when the jobs of at least three people fall onto one person. This is why small business owners tend to learn how to move very quickly.
  • Finances. Overcoming the financial hump of starting a new business is its biggest challenge. After all, money has the first and last say in business success. The amount your business is bringing in determines whether or not you can stay open. One does not need to be a small business owner to understand financial stress, but when mortgages and personal property are tied up in a small business, it is possible that no one understands financial stress as well as a small business owner.
  • Business generation and customer satisfaction. Small business owners know that the ultimate success of their small business hinges on whether or not their customer base is satisfied with their product. Business cannot be generated if customers are not convinced of the product’s value. The most important and crucial investment a business owner can make is into the satisfaction of its customers, and when this element is missing, it can cause a great deal of stress.
  • Legalities. All of a small business’s operations must meet the legislation of the jurisdiction it resides within. This may not seem difficult, but when inspectors expect detail perfection and meticulous management, and a small business owner is already critically pressed for time, this can be a huge cause of stress.

Starting a Small Business

small business start upWhen you decide to open your own small business, you are committing to a challenging road ahead of you. For some people, the payoff is immense financial success, while for others, it is simply taking a shot at a dream. Everyone wants to make a living on their small business dream, but more than half of all small businesses close within a few years of their opening. Successfully managing all aspects of a small business can be very challenging in the face of changing business legislation and recessions, but when extra care is taken to build a trustworthy reputation and brand, you too can become a small business success story! Below are some basic guidelines to help you achieve your small business goals:

  • Get funded. The first step to any small business dream is determining where the financing is coming from. This may be from a wealthy benefactor or it may be a loan from an institution. Dreams are not made of money, but this is one dream that definitely requires some funding!
  • Get licensed. Step two in your small business venture is securing a business license for yourself. These are obtained through your local jurisdiction for a certain fee. This is mandatory to opening a business location in a public setting, and highly recommended to attracting a clientele base to your business.
  • Get marketed. No one will give you business if they do not know you exist. Marketing is essential to starting up a new business. This means business networking, website circulation and advertising through digital and hard copy media. Other small businesses make for great referrals so be sure to make an impression on the local small business community!
  • Get staffed. When you are approaching your opening date, you should ensure that you have the staff you need to carry out the business’s operations. New businesses are often operated by the CEO’s alone until some business is generated, then more staff is hired.
  • Get operational. The task of operating your open business has begun! Prepare to be busier than you have ever been before, managing staff, inventory, customer relations and budgets. Planning ahead and learning to foresee difficulties is essential!

When Stress Falls on Small Business Owners

business owner stressSmall businesses have  a challenging road ahead of them, especially in the recovering North American economy. Small businesses that were already in operation when the recession began were hit hard and struggled to stay on their feet, if they did not go under entirely. Small business owners who have entered the market since that time, or who are thinking of entering it, have had more hardships in front of them than any other small business owners in history. Managing stress as a small business owner can be a monumental task, but it is so incredibly important to the business and to the individual in question.

The stress that can pile up onto small business owners can be overwhelming. New businesses are often not fully staffed when they are just breaking ground, so every operation task on every level falls on the owner.  It is not uncommon for a new small business owner to work 70 hours a week or more. Often, families run small businesses together, which can become highly problematic if the business struggles or if the family relationships are unhealthy. Commonly, a small business owner will turn desperately to some form of escapism in order to cope with their stress, such as substance abuse, which deteriorates their life over time. Substance abuse in small business owners is more common than many people realize, and it is very important for a small business owner to manage their stress, or seek help in doing so if they cannot on their own.

It is recommended that stressed out small business owners make sure they allow themselves some amount of time to unwind. Whether it is exercise, cooking, reading, or some other favorite hobby, immersion into a stress releasing activity is critical for the human mind. Many people coping with stress find exercise to be the best release as it relaxes the body as well as the mind. If a person finds they do not know how to make the time to unwind, or if they are turning to an unhealthy coping mechanism such as substance abuse, they should immediately seek professional help. Expert counselors and rehabilitation professionals can guide a small business owner through healthy thought patterns and coping  methods. Stress can deteriorate health quickly and should not be left unattended.