Becoming a small business owner is one of the most rewarding things you'll ever do in your life and also one of the most stressful. The weight of keeping the company afloat is fully on your shoulders. You must track everything from inventory to losses to employee performance. Being your own boss might be one of the most rewarding careers there is, but it is challenging, too.
The average small business owner makes $66,373 per year with the lower 10% earning only $30,000 per year. Out of that salary, most owner/operators must pay their own insurance and personal taxes. If the business is a sole proprietorship, they may even have to pay additional in self-employment taxes. For most entrepreneurs, they make a barely livable wage, but they also love what they do. The last thing they need on top of all the responsibility and lack of income is to feel as though they're ready to have a nervous breakdown. Here are five ways to deal with the stress of small business ownership:
1. Prioritize Tasks
If you're responsible for everything from marketing to inventory control, the sheer mountain of work is overwhelming. Make a list of the tasks you have to complete and prioritize them in order of importance. Finishing inventory before you have to file taxes may need to go to number one on your priority list while buying a new copier may need to take a back seat. Come up with a system to rank your to-do items in order of importance. For example, you might give high priority tasks a number one and so forth. There are different planners and methods for figuring out what is most important. Use the one that works best for you.
2. Delegate Work
People who start their own brands often feel so invested that they have a hard time letting any of the work go to someone else. They fear their employees won't be able to do the task as well as they could. While this might be true, it also creates a situation where the CEO gets completely burned out and is no longer able to work productively. Look at your task list and figure out what things you can farm out to someone else. You might need to hire a cleaning company to come in and straighten your shelves or invest in a new employee who is a wizard at marketing. Delegate the work you can so you can better focus on the things you excel in.
3. Secure Your Assets
If your business uses any type of equipment, one of the worst things that can happen is having the machines break down. Production stops and you can't deliver your orders on time, losing some of your long-time customers. Make sure your air compressors are top of the line and put some safeguards in place such as generators that keep your production running even if the electricity goes down. Make sure you automatically backup any data on a regular basis. Look at all your processes and where they might fail and ensure you have a Plan B for each potential scenario.
4. Take Time Off
In a survey on job-related stress, researchers at CareerCast found that 78% of respondents felt their jobs were very stressful. There is a relationship between health and stress, so taking time away from your business to defrag and refresh is vital. Many small business owners have a hard time stepping away, fearing the entire operation will come crashing down while they're gone. However, if you train your employees well, you'll be surprised how well things run while you're away. Take a break without checking your phone every two minutes and you'll be surprised how much more energized you'll feel.
5. Find a Mentor
A mentor has already navigated the path you're taking. Find someone with experience as a business owner. You can turn to this person when you discover an employee is stealing from you and you don't know how to handle the situation. You can ask questions when your ideas fail. Someone with more experience than you in running a business can help you avoid some of the pitfalls and pick you up and encourage you when you mess up.
Enjoy the Journey
Business ownership isn't easy. Your customers and employees rely on you to keep everything running smoothly. However, with a little perseverance and keeping your stress levels under control, you can find success as a smaller company and enjoy the experience at the same time.