Oh, the joys and travails of running a small business. It’s almost as bad as being a parent! Late nights, early mornings, terrible fits of fear, happiness, and rage—how can you possibly make it easier, smoother, more serene? Some aspects of small-business ownership will always be difficult, but many of the day-to-day common challenges can be either met or lessened with a little information and foresight. Don’t let your dream of running your own small business give you any more gray hairs. Here are seven ways to make the job less stressful.
Maintaining enough cash flow is one of the biggest headaches a small-business owner faces, and unless you have a lot of venture capital or you’re independently wealthy, it can seem like a headache that’s unlikely to leave. Thankfully, there is another option. Invoice factoring services are a great way to fill those cash flow gaps until your client base and revenue are up to speed, and because it’s based on invoices you’ve billed but haven’t been paid for yet, you won’t run up hard-to-pay-back debt like you could with a credit card.
2. Be Tax Savvy
For small-business owners, tax time doesn’t come just once a year; it comes four times a year. For the truly savvy, it’s a daily practice. From setting aside enough money to pay your tax bill on a quarterly basis to keeping excellent records of expenses, keeping your tax burden as low as possible, while ensuring you don’t accrue fees due to late payment is an essential part of keeping your business healthy and your stress levels low. If you’re unsure about how to manage your taxes, get up to speed now. You can always outsource your tax prep and maintenance needs, too.
If you haven’t already completed your business profile on Google+, do so post-haste. Not only is it free, but a solid Google+ business page also ensures that your business will show up in local and map-related searches. Having all the pertinent information online also means you’ll have to field fewer phone calls from people wanting to know more about your products and services. And, since Google is the world’s largest search engine, improving your search engine ranking with it will almost certainly be a boon to your bottom line—a stress reliever if there ever was one.
4. Take Breaks
It may seem hard to believe, but if you take breaks, you’ll actually get more work done. Why? Human beings are not machines, and our bodies and brains benefit from rest and a change in attention. Take a mid-morning and mid-afternoon break for 10 minutes each day. Whether you walk around the block or go lie down in a quiet and darkened room, you’ll come back refreshed and with a renewed ability to focus.
5. Don’t Procrastinate
While there are almost always more tasks on your to-do list than you can take care of in a day, week, or month, if you want to lower your stress levels, do not procrastinate. Some items have a hard and fast deadline, and others are more free flowing. Whether it’s a tax deadline, an upcoming presentation to a potential investor, or finding a new hire, be prompt. Anything else is a threat to your business’s success and your blood pressure.
6. Be Healthy
While some aspects of health are literally written into your DNA, many are not, and if you want to run a small business and survive intact, you have to take charge of your health in the ways that you can. Take the time to eat whole, local, organic foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients and devoid of chemicals. Drink plenty of water—at least eight glasses a day—and keep your alcohol, soda, and energy drink intake to a minimum.
While it can seem impossible to find the time, just taking a brisk walk three to four times a week for 20 minutes will keep everything from depression and stroke to heart disease and diabetes at bay. Finally, you have to get enough sleep. Aim for eight uninterrupted hours a night. If you do these four things, you’ll stay healthy enough to remain at the helm of your business for as long as you want to be there.
7. Mind Your Company Culture
What is your company’s current culture? Is it a place where employees can get to know one another, and where the experience of work feels meaningful and valuable? Is fun a regular part of the workweek? Company culture will happen one of two ways: by accident or with intention. Be intentional about developing a culture where stress has a hard time sticking around or you’re likely to get one where it flourishes.
Running a small business isn’t a cakewalk, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare either. Follow these seven tips, and your stress levels will become much more manageable.