If you are a small business owner, you probably work sixty hours a week or more, and everything ends up falling on your shoulders – from business development to paying bills. How can you possibly do it all, especially during the already stressful holiday season? Below we list 6 of the most common stressors for owners and employers, and some strategies to help you relieve stress, sleep better at night, and get through the holidays unscathed.
1. Attracting and Keeping Customers
Attracting and keeping customers is one of the most stressful parts of owning a business. Here is some helpful advice to relieve your stress:
- Learn how to network efficiently. Join organizations, attend events, meet new contacts, and volunteer. Schedule time to touch base with your customers, and ask them how things are going.
- Listen. Really listen to your customers and never take them for granted. Do whatever it takes to surpass their expectations. Impress them enough and they will become your new lead-generators.
- Be sure you are applying most of your resources to the activities that are most profitable.
2. Recruiting and Retaining Good Employees
In a small business, every employee is critical to keeping the company running. Do you have time to recruit and interview? You’re going to pay for it one way or another. Consider your company culture when hiring; think about what kind of people you want around you. Write clear job descriptions, learn good interviewing techniques, and hire according to your core values. Train employees well and offer advancement opportunities. Create an atmosphere they will brag about.
3. Compliance with Government Regulations
Keeping up with new government regulations gets harder every year. Recently, the Affordable Care Act, new Internet sales tax requirements, and privacy laws have been major stress factors. Make a list of your nagging questions, find professional partners, and put your mind at ease. Hire a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) to handle HR compliance issues for you. PEOs not only handle compliance, they help with attracting employees, and improving cash flow. PEO’s allow you, as the business owner, to keep your focus on the business
4. Time Management and Work/Life Balance
Many people start a business to have more control over their lives. Ironically, they generally have less control, and their work and personal lives can end up out of balance. If this is you, stop and take stock of what is truly important in your life, and physically write these activities on your calendar. Learn to be in the moment and don’t let business concerns encroach on your personal time. Remember to give yourself a break every once in a while. Maybe take a yoga class or other physical activity.
While at work, pay attention to how you spend your time. Is your inbox full of things that don’t make you money? Are you doing repetitive tasks that you could delegate to an assistant? It’s all about maximizing your valuable time.
5. Cash Flow
Perhaps your business runs in cycles, or you need to invest in or replace equipment. When you are short of ready cash, it can really stress you out. You might consider borrowing money. Banks are still lending, but with tighter requirements than in the past. Or, SBA loans can provide a source of cash with fewer restrictions and requirements. Find a reliable and trustworthy financial partner who can advise you and help you navigate your company’s finances.
Internet privacy is becoming a huge risk for small businesses. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself, customers and employees:
Know When You Need Help
- Ask your IT consultant and Internet Marketing consultant about the security of your website and online transactions.
- Remind your employees regularly to not go on the wrong websites at work, or open spam emails.
- Consider what information your business has stored on the internet and how it is protected.
- Scrutinize how your vendors are using your company’s information.
- Consider purchasing cyber-liability insurance.
Few people can manage all areas of business operations on their own, especially when the holidays hit. When you feel stressed, call on us
for advice and assistance. Don’t let your dream business become a nightmare.