It takes guts and vision to strike out on your own and start a small business. No longer do you have the network of support offered by colleagues, managers and all the other people who help make a workplace function.
At the beginning at least, you can find yourself taking on many different roles, from accounts to distribution, social media to planning your vision for the future.
In time, depending on your specific business, you may start to employ others to share the load, which brings its own challenges. And that’s not even mentioning all of the questions you face over financing your venture!
With all of this bubbling away, how can you make sure your business reaches its full potential without burning out?
Taking time to check in on yourself and how you are coping with life as an entrepreneur will be vital to your success.
“The problem with burnout is that is can creep up on you; many business owners and managers just don't see it coming,” Startup Donut explains in an article about spotting and addressing the signs of burnout.
It continues: “The way many of us deal with work overload is just to put our heads down and try and get through it - when the best thing you can do at this point is refocus and actually take more breaks.”
Remember why your started your business
For many, the beginnings of a small business come from finding something you feel passionately about - a skill, a product or a different way of delivering a service which you believe will really make a difference.
In time it is really easy to forget what it was that made you take a leap of faith and strike out on your own.
In moments like these, give yourself the opportunity to reflect on why you started your business and what you really wanted to achieve. Write it down and stick it on the wall if you need to but revisit it often.
“It sounds strange to say, but your top priority at the beginning of the day should be setting priorities!” according to Smallbusiness.co.uk
“When you feel swamped, it’s easy to panic and think that everything is urgent when in reality it isn’t. This is especially true if you have a particularly ‘loud’ colleague or client who thinks all of their tasks should be top priority.”
Although a list of all the tasks you need to do may look a bit scary at first, doing this will allow you to clear your head and work out what really needs to take priority. And who doesn’t enjoy the act of crossing tasks off once complete?
Learn how to say no
This is far from easy, especially when you are starting out. But if you can learn to say no in a positive way it can stand you in good stead for the future.
Instead of a blunt ‘no’ think about whether you can find a way to say yes which works for you. Setting a workable time frame or suggesting an alternative solution may be the best course of action. Take time before you say an outright ‘yes’ to demands on your time. If something causes alarm bells to ring at the first approach, now is the right point to think it through, rather than making a snap agreement and regretting it later.
Talk about it
There are many opportunities out there for small business owners to talk to others who may be able to help or have found themselves in a similar position.
Networking groups run up and down the country alongside virtual sessions online.
Small Business Geek holds a weekly virtual networking slot via zoom which is open to all small businesses, giving them the chance to to talk through the very real issues they may be facing, and share tips and hints that may help others.
Set work hours and stick to them
Although it can be tempting to burn the candle at both ends, it rarely pays off in the long term. Aim to set realistic working hours and keep to them. Getting enough sleep and eating right will also help to combat burnout.
Take a break
Fresh air really can be the best medicine if it all starts to feel a bit much. Take a break from your desk, even if it is only brief and clear your head. Schedule it in on your calendar if you need to - if it’s written down you are more likely to stick to it.
If you really find it hard to justify leaving your computer, how about giving some desk-based exercise a try? Tiny Pulse has some good suggestions.
Know when to ask for help
No one knows your business like you do, but there will be times when you need the help or support of others to move things to the next level.
Small Business Geek’s Liz Smith explained: “It can be really hard to know when to ask for help, especially if your business is kind of like your baby. We focus on really getting to know the businesses we work with and understanding the problems they face so we can identify what are often quite straight forward solutions.
“Sometimes we are able to provide the support clients need to carry out tasks like setting up a website or making the most of search engine optimisation for themselves, while for others taking these sort of jobs off their hands so they can focus on what they do best is the right solution.”
Small Business Geek offers a range of business services from design and web development to marketing and business planning, and well as administrative support and training. Get in touch to talk through how we may be able to help you.