The word “burnout” is sadly becoming increasingly prevalent with overworked, overstressed SME business owners. In case you were wondering, no we are not referring to the hoons that go racing up and down your street just when you’re trying to get to sleep. That’s a whole different kind of burnout!
Burnout can affect different people in different ways, but at the end of the day as a small business owner if you are suffering burnout, then your business is also going to suffer. Here are a few tips that will help you to avoid burning out in your business.
One thing that all small business owners have in common is the shock that running a business is harder and more involved than they first thought it would be. Whether it be dealing with staff, administrative burdens or chasing unpaid debts. The answer here is to outsource and use all the tools you can. This can include using accounting software to automate debtor chasing, scheduling social media posting ahead of time, and using experts so you can focus on your own expertise. Outsourcing also has the added benefit of getting an outsiders viewpoint on your business. New ideas can be invaluable.
Yes, we’ve all heard the story that once a business owner goes on leave the whole place falls apart. These cases are extreme and sadly put fear in the hearts of business owners who become too scared to take vacations. Getting away from the business, clearing your head and coming back with a fresh perspective can reinvigorate your passion and bring new ideas for the business. Not only that, spending time with family, aside from the obvious benefits, can also have real tangible health benefits.
Creating documented processes for as much of your business as possible gets your business out of your head. A great tip for the newbie is to start this process from the very outset, even if you think you don’t need it yet. Keep the unnecessary out of your head and in documented procedures. This has the added benefit of knowing that these documented policies will be followed when you take your vacations and you will take them.
GET A BUSINESS PARTNER
For the solo business owner, burnout syndrome can come on a lot earlier than for business owners with partners to bounce ideas off and share the load across multiple sets of shoulders. Every solo business owner must always have a sounding board; if this isn’t a business parent, it could also be a business coach, a mentor, an accountant, a business support group and so on. It’s always best for such a person to not have a financial interest in the business, as this may cloud their judgement in terms of making changes that only affect themselves.
STICK TO WHAT YOU KNOW
The final point is to not forget the primary reason for starting your business. Don’t let yourself get bogged down in the administrative and non-core aspects of the business – as this is a guaranteed path to burnout. Outsource to experts. If you think you can’t afford to do this, then consider carefully how much time you would save by outsourcing and just what you are capable of achieving to grow the business and service customers in that space of time.
Leave the burnouts to the young guys in the loud cars, who I’m sure suffer a different kind of burnout when they have to replace the tyres on their cars every 12 months. Sadly, wisdom only comes with experience, if it didn’t this whole article wouldn’t be necessary for the modern day business owner.
John Corias is a consultant working with SME businesses.
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