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HOW SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS CAN MANAGE STRESS

Kerri-Ann Allen, Senior Employment Relations Adviser from Employsure, offers expert tips on how to keep a small business running smoothly even when things get a little hectic.

Running a small business is stressful. Between managing suppliers, finances, customers and staff, the life of a small business owner is primed for stress.

So, what can small business owners do to manage their own stress? While there may not be a magic pill to completely remove the stresses associated with running a small business, there are some simple things owners can do.

Remember what’s going right

It’s easy to get lost in the small issues (or full-blown crises) that accompany running a small business, losing sight of the many victories you’ve had along the way. In those moments when cash ow is stalling, staff are feuding and that leak in the bathroom still isn’t fixed, take a moment to recognise your milestones and achievements in starting and running your own business.

In a recent article in Entrepreneur magazine, successful entrepreneur Mike Kappel explained, “As you’re building your business, it is easy to only focus on the things that are going wrong. You can improve your stress… by reminding yourself of the things that are going right,” he advised.

Don’t be afraid to delegate

The advantage of operating a small business in this digital age is the ability to delegate — not just to your team, but also to the vast networks of freelancers and consultants operating in the so-called ‘gig economy’.

At times when you’re feeling overwhelmed, give yourself permission to let go, delegate more tasks to the people around you, and explore outsourcing where appropriate. You could be surprised by how much of your time and energy is consumed by tedious tasks that could be delegated with a little clever planning and management.

Pay attention to your own health

Working long hours, skipping meals, sacrificing sleep and running on caffeine is the perfect storm for stress. If you’re not looking after your own health, you’ll be less likely able to handle the tasks of everyday life — let alone the extra demands of running a small business. Take breaks, eat well, make time for friends and family and add a little exercise. Over time you’ll find yourself much more primed to handle the stresses of running a small business.

Protect your schedule

As a business owner, the temptation is to always be available, constantly connected and accommodating to everyone’s requests but your own. It’s a temptation made all the easier by the emergence of smart devices.

While it’s well-intentioned, giving away your time, energy and attention too freely can be a major trigger for stress. Every meeting request you accept, every call you take, every notification you check means you’re saying ‘no’ to other important tasks that could be helping you tackle the major tasks causing you stress.

Explore automation

Let’s face it, accounting, marketing and customer relationship management are essential parts of running a small business. But they can also be repetitive and time- consuming. If the monotony of tedious business tasks is triggering stress, then you should explore automation.

Entryless CEO, Mike Galarza tells Forbes magazine, “With all the tools currently available to businesses, I cannot believe how much time is still spent on manual tasks. I’ve seen the possibilities for and impact of automation in accounting first-hand, but it’s also transformed a wide range of other processes such as customer relationship management, marketing, regulatory compliance and cybersecurity.”

In simple terms, automation takes certain manual tasks and uses online software to deliver them automatically, with little or no input from you. There’s a vast range of automation tools available that can help you with everything from sending invoices to managing Facebook. According to Mr Galarza, automation tools are more accessible than ever before, so there’s no excuse not to explore them to save yourself time, money and headaches.

Kerri-Ann Allen, Senior Employment Relations Adviser, Employsure