6 Top Tips to Help Small Business Owners Cut Stress
Stress in the workplace is a major concern for businesses of all sizes, with many millions of working days being lost every year as a result of related conditions. Small business owners can be especially vulnerable, because they often work long hours, take work home with them and feel under personal pressure to ensure their company succeeds.
As leading providers of managed offices, Basepoint works with many SMEs around the country and keeps a close eye on issues affecting business owners. Here we have put together some helpful tips to lessen the risk of stress and burn-out.
1. Take Time to Prioritise – When work piles up, it can lead to you feeling swamped and over-committed. Worrying about one task while carrying out another can make it hard to concentrate on anything. Also, if you have too many different projects on hand, there can be a risk of concentrating on the clients who call you most frequently rather than the work which is actually most pressing. Spending a short time prioritising which projects are most important will allow you to feel confident that you are tackling the key tasks first.
2. Be Willing to Delegate – As a business owner, you may often be understandably reluctant to hand work over to others. One reason for this could be that clients are used to dealing with you in person. Also, you might feel it is easier to complete a task yourself rather than having to explain it to someone else. However, realistically it is often better to arrange for someone else to do the less complicated work and free you up for higher priorities. Also, as your company grows it is important for colleagues to have a grasp of what you are doing and to be able to step in.
It is obviously harder to delegate if you are a one-man or one-woman band, but even if this is the case you may want to look at outsourcing or getting support in some areas of your business. It can also sometimes be helpful to strike up relationships with other sole traders where you help one another during busy periods.
3. Give Yourself a Break – Working non-stop is bad both for health and for productivity, as we all tend to lose inspiration and slow down after hours at our desks. It’s therefore good to schedule in short breaks during the working day. Just 10 minutes of “time out” can help to recharge the batteries, while going outside at lunchtime, getting some fresh air and taking a walk are also beneficial. In addition to everyday breaks, it is also important for small business owners to take their holidays. Surveys have shown that too many work right through the year without getting away, and again this increases the risk of burnout.
4. Make Use of Technology – Small business owners often feel they don’t have time to get to grips with new technology and are also concerned about investing in the latest equipment. However, sticking to old methods can be a lot more time-consuming and can add to the pressure on you. Being prepared to invest in some technology and adopt more streamlined systems can dramatically cut the time spent on routine tasks. For instance, many small businesses find it helpful to have systems in place which send out automatic reminders for unpaid bills.
5. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin – Especially when a business is in its early days, it can be tempting to take every project that is offered, even if you don’t have the resources available or it isn’t really in your line of work. However, this is likely to add to stress levels, since it may be difficult to get the work done on time and you could risk falling behind with other tasks as a result. As a business grows, it is important to be realistic about how much work you can handle and also about deadlines, where possible building in some extra time to avoid a last-minute panic.
6. Get Support – If you or your key staff have to handle all the business support and building admin tasks yourself, such as dealing with post, trades people and office security issues, there will be less time available for business-critical work. Again, this is likely to cause additional stress.
However, moving your business into managed offices such as Basepoint’s business centres means you will be able to get help and support from the centre’s team to deal with all the everyday tasks, while IT support is also available. Regular networking events at the centres and our MiBase mentoring support service make it easier to build relationships with other small business owners and support one another.