Tiba Al-khalidy

Starting a small business is perhaps one of the most stressful things that we can do. Even if you’re an expert in your field, facing ongoing stress in business can make it extremely difficult for us to function at our peak. As a small business owner, you’re constantly facing stress because you’re constantly making decisions that could make or break everything that you’ve worked for. If you’re a person that is constantly under stress and feeling anxious, that can have a direct effect on developing physical symptoms like migraine headaches, upset stomachs, high blood pressure, sexual dysfunction, sleep difficulty, and even chest pain.

Consistent symptoms of stress can also lead to ongoing forms of panic attacks, depression and a series of emotional problems that can be faced in an ongoing sense. A person that is constantly plagued by stress is very likely to develop a series of emotional symptoms as well as physical symptoms. It’s not uncommon to get diagnosed with anxiety disorders or depression when you are unable to manage the stress that you experience every day.

Because of the sheer amount of stress that many small business owners are under, it gets unmanageable to handle it all sometimes. Without a proper outlet or strategy for managing stress, a vast number of small business owners end up burning out and this can lead to their business suffering as a result of their health.

If you’re a small business owner and you’re starting to get affected by stress, it’s very important that you come up with a coping strategy to manage that stress so that you can stay a healthy individual and so that you can keep your business healthy.

Here are some of the top ways that you can manage stress as a small business owner:

1. Focus on your strengths and wins:

Adopting a positive mindset is often a great way to dispel some of the stress and negative energy that could be affecting you. When our brain recognises the familiar and the positive aspects of our performance, we feel more confident, and the cycle of stress is broken.

2. Identify the main causes of your stress:

There’s likely to be elements of your business operations that are the main causes of your stress. It could be the phone call that you have with one supplier each day, your commute, performing the accounting functions of your business, preparing a meeting or presentation or simply finances. Stress usually comes from a problem that is unfamiliar or that you have not solved. If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, you must identify the main causes of your stress and tackle them head on or you will continue to face that stress every day. This might mean delegating a task to somebody else with more expertise or working at cutting out a stressful habit from your day in favour of something that stresses you out less. Develop a balance and have an appropriate structure.

If we are always actively anticipating that will have to work or expect stress, the stress will become inescapable. Planning for an event that might come up or tackling a difficult thing on your to-do list first thing can eliminate the chance that you’ll have to work overtime to complete it or face feelings of dread taking it on. A common complaint that many business owners have is that there aren’t enough hours in the day for them to complete their tasks. Having an appropriate schedule and planning and anticipating when you are going to accomplish each task can keep you more organised and make sure that you are prioritising your time accordingly. Developing a work life balance means having set hours during the day that you’re going to work and organising your time so that you’re working efficiently during those hours. For many small business owners that find themselves working 12 hours a day, setting a 9–10 hour schedule and being fully away from work when they are off the clock is a revelation to their stress levels.

3. Be ready to say no:

Many small business owners and managers find themselves constantly trying to please others. If you’re starting out, it’s likely that every opportunity that you are receiving is one that you must take. Taking on too much is one of the fastest ways to fall into a stress trap. It’s important to set boundaries on what you are going to do as a business and as an individual. If you’re not setting boundaries and you’re not ready to say no it can be easy for you get taken advantage of and to feel misunderstood in your business. As your business continues to grow it might be easier for you to say no from a financial perspective but remember that if something you’re taking on is going to require you to bend over backwards for client, another more comfortable opportunity may be coming along in the near future that fits your lifestyle better.

4. Learn to delegate effectively:

Any small business owner or manager needs to develop the skills to delegate effectively. As the owner of a business or as somebody that was with a business from the beginning, it can be very difficult to give up control. Although it is likely that you could accomplish a task much faster than a new employee, delegation will free you up for other crucial tasks and relieve stress. Delegation can also make sure that you can recognise where your weaknesses are and then get the right experts in to take on a task that would cause you stress or difficulty. If you regularly take hours to scour over the financial reports of your business and complete a budget, it may be advantageous for you to consider hiring an accountant temporarily during tax season or an investing report. Delegating and outsourcing is crucial to managing your stress and workload.

Keep some of these top ideas in mind as the business owner. Remember that stress affects many people in small businesses but with the right strategies to mitigate your stress, you can avoid some of the negative health effects and detriments to your business performance that you can experience from overwhelming stress.