When you run a small business particularly if that business is run from home or you have few colleagues or staff, you will spend most of your time fulfilling client orders or trying to get new clients, fixing the computer, router, website and dozens of other things it takes to keep your business running. Quite right too. That’s what you get paid for! But as a business owner how do you make a difference to your business? How do you take it to the next level when its all down to you? Actually how do you keep the band together?
So what creates or contributes to overwhelm (which if you hadn’t guessed it is code for stress). Well, basically, its down to the Job Description and it can suck!
- Unpredictable hours. Long work days and weekends add up to countless hours of overtime that you won’t be paid for up front –at least not in the beginning, anyway.
- Your job involves wearing multiple hats at any given time–book-keeper, IT support, office manager, marketer, psychologist/motivator, logistics expert and time-traveller, and learning how not to allow your client add to the brief without paying you for it.
If this is sounding like you then don’t worry you are not alone. Here are two few simple tips that should help you losing your sanity.
- Make time for you. Your health and sanity is important and a little distance can help you attack problems with renewed vigour. Solution: keep strict office hours rather than keeping at it all night. All nighters only work for a short time before they affect your ability to function. You cannot live sustainably and healthily like that. Block out your diary out. Enter “No Meetings” and stick to it.
- Create some distance from the problem. This is related to Make Time For You. Your sustained health is critical to your success so get away from the table/desk/office and actually eat something nutritious during the day. Snack healthily. Go for a walk at midday. Drive less. Drink more water. Get more fresh air. Go to the gym. The distance from work and any exercise will help with building clarity by giving you a different perspective. Problems will often be solved far more quickly by creating some distance with the problem.
- Dream Big. Ambitious goals can get you up in the morning. Ambitious for you might be that Florida holiday or a new car. If so, get a magazine. Cut out a picture and put it somewhere you can see it every day. This simple act will help you own your dreams and gives your something to aim for. We all need something to get us up in the morning and it helps if you can see it and make it real.
- Get help. Running a business involves a mix of highly-skilled tasks: marketing, strategy, bookkeeping and contract law. There are tools, apps and templates to take the fear and danger out of this. Recognise that no-one is an expert in everything so look for help. that might be a virtual assistant, a reliable contract template, help with a marketing plan, a solid business plan, or even a tidy email inbox. It is important to recognise your limitations, and all of that stuff can distract from the job of getting and fulfilling new orders which is, at the end of the day, the thing that will grow your business. So focus on what your are expert at and get help wherever you are not.
- Make time to plan. The objective of any good business is to create value over the long term. Believing in yourself is incredible important but belief alone won’t cut it. You need to plan to be successful in a sustainable way. the only way to do that is to create a plan is stick to it. Planning and revisiting plans is a critical task for any business. Do this every month for two hours and it will help you figure out how you will smash your market. Write down the plan. Revisit it in 3, 6, or 12 months. But revisit it and keep questioning why some things work and why some things didn’t work.
So basically: stay healthy, dream big, get help and plan in a structured way. Each is equally important. These two tips will help keep you physically and mentally healthy. If you are not healthy you cannot run your business effectively so look after yourself. The second tip get your to focus you on growing your business in a structured way. With hope and a plan you can be unbeatable. With no clear plan you basically have no clue!
In the next post we will home in on the basics of good planning.