What do you do to stay sane when running a small business?
Hi there, I am putting together some advice for people running a small business, making suggestions on what they can do to 'stay sane'. I'd be interested in your viewpoints. I've thought of a few things myself, namely:
* Create clear boundaries (Family / Business, Pleasure/Work, Yr own office etc)
* Create a weekly and daily routine (Days of week to do stuff)
* Don’t obsess about stats, analytics, hit counts etc.
* Don’t get lost in all of the advice available, trust your instincts
* Get away from the computer and the business, exercise and look after yourself
* Write things down so you don't forget them
* Cultivate other interests outside the business, nourish your mind
* Remember why you are doing this in the first place (freedom, wealth etc.)
* Do one thing every day to move your business forward in a small way
Does anyone have any other good ones to add please?
Please note that I have now created the first of several guides based on this information: http://www.businessbulletpoints.com/stay-sane-reduce-stress-small-business-boundaries/
Stick to the tasks that lead to revenue generation.
Define how quickly you can generate revenue.
Be clear on what you do - Are you a hobby or a business?
Develop a task list that lead to revenue.
Ask yourself each day - What did I do to get this business closer to revenue?
Implement a sales system first where your products/services can be purchased.
Build a marketing system that leads into your sales system.
Outline your financial system that funds your marketing and sales systems. (cost of a customer, cost of each piece of marketing collateral)
Concentrate on conversion. Convert your activities to sales.
This is how I stay sane.
Hope this helps, Paul.
The viewpoints you and Ellen have posted are great and many of which I presently use. The others I would add are: 1. Reevaluate your vision and mission. Its imprortant to remind yourself of the core purpose and reason for starting your business. Sometimes as busy business professionals we can lose focus. 2. Re-access your business or marketing plan. Often times business owners can get off track and miss core steps in implementation, development and the overall achievement of the goals and objectives set forth during start-up. While its essential to adopt new business processes it is as equally essential to access what has worked well in the past, continue those processes and evaluate how you can improve. 3. Network Network Network ... connect with like minded business professionals, share ideas and form partnerships that will assist in growth and continued development.
Laugh a LOT (stay positive), ask my Golden for input and since I don´t get any useable business advice from him I end up asking myself - or my team - "what's the worst thing that can happen?" (being a bit "damaged" from being a former lawyer :-D) just to realize that nothing, so far, can change what really matters the most to me - the love of my family and closest friends. Putting things in perspective always gives greater insights. I also do agree with You that it is in fact great to cultivate other interests outside the business, although of course I am aware that this might be difficult to do when You simply just love what You're doing and everything somehow seems to turn into some kind of joyful "shop talk". Go with Your gut instincts - do what feels good and FUN.
1. Be sure to have processes & procedures in place before signing the first client or you will never have enough time to set things up correctly.
2. Outsource the tasks that you are not an expert in to a Virtual Assistant. They can save you time by doing Internet research, bookkeeping set up, social media profiles and more.
3. Install Evernote on every device you own. This way, instead of writing thoughts and ideas on scraps of paper that you will lose, you can enter them into Evernote and they will be at your fingertips, no matter what device you are working with.
- Don't forget family time, and time with friends
- Spend some quiet time alone: walk in the park, fishing, jogging, reading, etc.
- Volunteer your time, at least 1 hour per week, for any good cause in which you believe
- Unplug at least 8 hours per week: no phone, TV, internet, technology ...
- Don't worry about failure
- Keep thinking; if the business fails, it's not the end ... have a back up plan
- Be nice to your customers
- Fire bad customers
good luck :)
All great suggestions. But whatever it is you do, KEEP IT SIMPLE! A lot of people try to change things too quickly - like jumping head first into a new exercise routine that goes from zero to five days a week. Bad idea. Take baby steps. Set clear goals and then work backwards to incrementally work toward them.
For exercise, I'll stop and do some push-ups or pull ups in the middle of the day. This works much better for me than a cup of coffee to wake me up and keep me energized and motivated. And it's easier than going to the gym. If you need some ideas for easy exercise, I would recommend checking out something like FitDeck - a simple deck of cards with exercises on them.
Two things i would add are:
1. Take time to reflect on what you have achieved - I was recently "forced" into this when putting in an entry for a business award and it was great to see just how much i had achieved in 3 years - 35% year on year growth, over 300 clients helped etc certainly makes it feel worthwhile
2. Keep doing your hobbies - It's all too easy to "stay in the office", but the reality is that there are very very few jobs which can't wait until tomorrow
My viewpoints are:
1. Do what inspires you
2. Reward yourself for your successes
3. Calculate your price so that there is money for a vacation
4. If you do not enjoy your work stop using it immediately
Create business/personal metrics for tracking actual activity against your goals. All successful people track activity. I think this is critical to business success. Leverage your calendar to have all your high payoff activities on it and then follow your calendar. These 2 items work in harmony together to help you stay focused and achieve y our goals, in my opinion.
Wow there s a lot of wisdom out there but here are a few tidbits:
1) Remember it is a marathon not a sprint. You came up with an idea or a concept and it will take time to get the right recipe for success. As a famous artist friend of mine reminded me "It only took me 20 years to become an overnight success"
2) Plan your work and work your plan. This may seem rudimentary but much of the advice is to sell, sell, sell. However there are times when you have to plan, build and prepare before you can sell. Again, this is about balance in the plan. Identify the high value tasks that bring high long term value and execute them.
3) Find a group of like minded people you can physically meetup with. It helps to bounce ideas off others once in a while and while it may not generate cash, it does help clear the mind for the next presentation.
4) Use mental floss. Veg out from time to time in what ever your way is. A refreshed mind is a more productive mind and you will make more sales, be more creative in the development of collateral material and may just find the answer to the problem you have been working for the past two months.
Sanity and successful small business are usually mutually exclusive. Once you give in to the insanity, it gets much easier. Most of all, you have to love what you do - otherwise, you have the worst job in the world.
Outsource administrative tasks so you can stay focused on what is important.
I agree with many of the comments in creating a work life balance. There are times when you need down time just to refresh. I also am a strong believer insome form of physical exercise to get the frustrations out. For me it is martial arts. Some like running, swimming or golf.
Have a personal day off where you completely disconnect and are not available.
Hi Paul - great initiative.
Here's one relevant strategy that I didn't see in the excellent responses already here:
While 'sanity' is a Conscious, unproductive label of something else, it has zero significance on its own, once we are guided by our inner truth (UNconscious). That's right.
On that basis, ask your inner truth/UNconscious about the single and only thing that matters ... the answer to this yes/no question:
"Does this serve me best now?"
(where 'this' refers to your list above, the other answers here and all other things)
If your Conscious and UNconscious conflict (isn't that the very source of your 'sanity' question ;-) then go with your gut (UNconscious). Do that 100% of the time.
For 36+ years I empower my clients to achieve that daily. You can too, give me a shout or apply the resources in my book, Ready Aim Soar!
Hi Paul ~
These are all excellent, and I encourage you to turn it into an article for the mosaicHUB Resources section. I posted a piece several weeks ago that speaks to core coaching guidance for entrepreneurs and everyone else: self-care. You touch on it in point 5. This expands upon it: http://www.mosaichub.com/resource_center/resource/the-renewable-resource-called-y-o-u
Focus on Sales then focus more on sales and then refocus on sales - once you have the sales then the rest comes easy.
Yours plus the others have given great insight. I have a few to offer:
- Find a mentor...a wise elder who is giving you life information not just business stuff.
- Wake up and the first thing is to give gratitude to the creator and be thankful for the life you have been given.
- Have a weekly date night with your spouse...business talk is off limits.
- Do not miss your child's event...you'll regret it later if you do.
- Listen to MP3 or CD's in your car from the masters in business and life
Paul, You are minimizing the opportunity by focusing on "staying sane". You can ask "how does one survive" or "how to meet the minimum expectations".
It is much like the staff who answered my question: "How did the customer feel?" with "They didn't complain." We hope to achieve more than "keep them from complaining." :)
If on the other hand you are talking about coping with the stresses of owning a small business: Vision. Waking up in the morning with a vision keeps one not only able to cope but actually thrive when things are bumpy.