We've all heard that stress is bad for you.
According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can give you headaches, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, upset stomach and sleeping problems.
Stress can also affect your mood causing you to be anxious, restless, lack motivation, irritable, overwhelmed or depressed. If you find yourself "just having a bad day,"stress may be the reason why.
Stress can also affect your behavior in a negative way. You may overeat, have angry outbursts, abuse alcohol or socially withdraw. Again, all things that in the long-term will hurt you and the ones you love.
Here are some stats from Web MD regarding stress:
- 43% percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
- 75% to 90% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace.
- Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
Stress is a huge problem in all of our lives, but for a small business owner things are worse.
According to a Bank of America survey, "maintaining a small business causes 2X as much stress as maintaining a healthy relationship with a spouse or partner, nearly 3X as much stress as raising children, and more than 4X as much stress as managing their personal finances."
What is the root cause of all the stress in your small business and what can you do about it?
In consulting with small business owners across the country, I've seen some common areas that are clearly stress inducers. I like to call it "self inflicted" stress. The good news is that there are things your can do about it.
This blog is not meant to be a post on stress management. I am not going to advocate all the typical things that you can do to manage your stress (exercise, eating healthy, sleep etc.) - all things which you should do, but I am going to focus on eliminating the sources of stress within your business.
Small Business Stress Drivers And Real Solutions
- No Goals or Plans
Not having goals or plans for your small business is a huge driver for your stress.
No small business magically drifts into a better version of itself. Business is competitive and difficult. Just “winging it" is not an option. I have seen some businesses that succeed in spite of themselves. This typically happens when there is strong demand for their products and they can afford to "wing it". This doesn't last forever of course. Just look at mortgage banking in 2008. Now, I am not saying you can plan form everything, but as the saying goes, "fail to plan, plan to fail".
Stress Reducer #1 - Determine your top 3-5 company goals.
2. No Budget or Financial Model
It still amazes me at the number of small businesses that operate without a budget or financial model. I think this is mostly due to a lack of understanding on how to make this happen. Don't feel bad, many small business owners or entrepreneurs are visionaries who are great at producing a product, but not at developing budgets or financial models. This shouldn't stop you from finding someone to help with this critical stress-reducing component.
Think about how stressful it would be to take a boat out onto the ocean without a gas gauge. How would you know how much fuel you have? You wouldn’t. Talk about stressful!
Stress typically comes from not knowing what will happen. It also comes from the concern that as a small business owner you feel you have to do it all yourself. Many are worried that they can't afford to hire someone to help.
Once you've developed a budget or financial model, you may have a new type of stress, but it will be related to a real problem (not enough sales, cash flow issues, etc). You will now have real data which will help you to develop a solution.
Without a budget or financial model, you don't have the information to make a decision, so you don't make a decision and remain stressed.
Stress Reducer #2 - Create a budget or financial model for your business and check it each month.
3. No team / No delegation / No outside help / Doing It “All” Syndrome
If you are managing the business by yourself, you can feel like you're doing it all alone. Everything falls on your shoulders. You have employees, but they really aren't helping you to run the business.
What's the solution? You must begin delegating and creating a team around you. Ask your team to begin making decisions. Even if you're a "one man show" you can hire contractors to help you execute, often at a much lower cost, your vision.
The fear here is that an employee may not do it as good as you could. Your responsibility as a leader is to lead and develop the talent around you. This will make your job easier over time.
Stress Reducer #3 - Develop a team around you who can help you run the business. Resist the urge to do everything yourself.
Finally, I suggest taking a look at why you are stressed. Take some time on a Friday afternoon (or whenever you can quiet your mind down) and think through what is driving your stress. Then write down the top 3 things you are going to do about it. Better yet, contact us for a free consultation and eliminate the stress today.
Our system helps small business owners create the business of their dreams by reducing stress, increasing profit and giving them more free time.