How to Manage the Stress of Being a Small Business Owner

Running a small business comes with plenty of perks. For one, you’re your own boss. You get to see your ideas and visions come to life and hit one milestone after another. But, of course, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Since you’re the top decision-maker, you are prone to experiencing high levels of stress daily. That’s why learning to manage workplace stress is extra crucial for small business owners. 

Here are some tips to help you handle your “startup stress” a little bit better: 

Specify the sources of your stress.

When running a small business, stress usually comes from an issue you haven’t started to solve or are having trouble fixing. So the best way to specify your stressors is to take a step back. It’s typical for an entrepreneur like you to put out fires constantly. But having that intense mindset all day long can sometimes constrict your perspectives. So when you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a breather and specify the root cause of your stress. From there, you can start attacking the problem more efficiently. 

For instance, do you feel stressed because of your jam-packed schedule? How about delegating some tasks to other members of your team? Is it the cash flow? Maybe, you can take out a small business loan for this quarter to alleviate the issue. 

The important thing is to identify the sources of your stress so you can pinpoint the issue, change how you respond to it, and look for better solutions to address it.

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Learn to say no.

When starting a business, you may feel that you don’t have the luxury to say no to every opportunity that comes your way. But it’s vital to remember your value and that you have limited time since you’re focused on growing your startup company. Keep in mind that taking on more than you can handle is a definite stress trap. 

When you fail to set boundaries, you are more likely to feel burned out. So learn to say no and set proper boundaries. When approached with an opportunity or request, ask yourself these questions: Is it something I want to do for myself or my business? How does it fit with my business goals? Do I have extra time to do it?

Use tools to your advantage.

Repetitive admin tasks can take a lot of your day and make you feel like you no longer have enough time for other aspects of your business & personal life. So learn to use tools to your advantage. Subscribing & capitalizing on reliable small business tools—from accounting apps to web management & marketing tools—will pay off.

Remember this, though: work tools & apps should make your job easier—not harder. So if you find yourself spending more time learning to use an app or finding it difficult to train your staff on using it, it’s not doing you any favors. Make sure to choose your tools wisely. They should take away some of your stress instead of adding to it.

Unplug during after-hours.

Remember that you’re not a robot, no matter how incredible you are at what you do. You can’t run your business all the time and expect to maintain the same level of efficiency & productivity. You’re still a human being whose energy needs to be replenished. And that’s not only about physical energy—you also have to recharge emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. So unplug during after-hours. 

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You need time away from checking in with your staff & customers, answering emails, and doing business development tasks. Don’t feel guilty about unplugging. Go and have a digital detox after every work or on weekends. Just let your mind relax a bit. You can go on a walk, read a book, do gardening or hang out with your loved ones. When you make time for activities that make you happy, you can easily restore your energy and be in a better disposition to address workplace issues the next day. 

Bottom line

No matter your job, stress will always be there. But running your own business may mean higher levels of stress as you have to make decisions for yourself and the entire company. So it’s essential that you learn to handle your stress better. Try the tips above and see which works best for you—for your business & personal life.