You love what you do. And why wouldn’t you? While your contemporaries are desperately trying to ascend the corporate ladder and working away to appease a system that’s rigged against them, you saw the futility in this a long time ago. You knew that you were never going to live up to your full potential as a corporate wage slave. Your only option was to throw out the rule book and go into business for yourself. It’s been a long and occasionally arduous journey but it’s one which you’ve walked with a smile on your face. You’re driven by passion for what you do and the customers you’re there to help. This passion is infectious. It motivates your employees to be the best that they can be and strive on a daily basis to fulfil your business’ mission statement. Yet, as inspirational and hard working as you may be, it’s vital that you remember that even you have your limits.
While hard work, discipline and dedication are undeniably admirable and important attributes, there is no honor or nobility in working your way into an early grave. Many nascent entrepreneurs think that working hard is the key to success, and while there’s a modicum of truth in this, working hard will never be as important as working smart. Most entrepreneurs work long hours and endure enormous stress on a daily basis and while this is somewhat inevitable they owe it to themselves and their businesses to take the hard work and stress out of doing what they do. Believe it or not, you can be a successful entrepreneur while also being a happy and well balanced entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurial Burnout is real
When you’re dedicated and passionate about what you do, it’s natural to want to push yourself to your limits. You put your business first, prioritizing it over your relationships with friends and family and even over your health. You invest all of your waking hours to your enterprise and struggle to find time for anything or anyone else. In fact, a recent study shows that around 30% of small business owners work more than 50 hours per week. Almost 20% say that they work 60 hours or more a week and almost 80% feel as though they’re working too much.
Investing this much time and effort into your enterprise can lead to burning out which will cause you to lose sleep, impair your decision making, render you emotionally volatile and altogether not that much fun to be around. Fortunately, there’s plenty of time for you to put in place the infrastructure for change…
Streamline your processes
While you may well be finding your way in terms of the processes and practices that work best for you, it’s good practice to always re-evaluate your processes and try to find ways of making them more efficient and productive. In terms of product manufacture, turnkey contract manufacturing services can take a lot of the legwork out of getting your product manufactured to the standards you require- check it out! Of course, it’s only possible to re-evaluate your processes if you…
Get away from the coalface
While it’s admirable that you want to spend some time with your employees, interacting with customers and ensuring that your standards are met, failing to spend enough time in your office can actually be surprisingly damaging. Time spent on the front lines is time you’re not spending looking at your KPIs, evaluating your performance and spotting consumer trends upon which your business can (and should) capitalize.
Use tech to take the pressure off your employees
Delegating is a skill. As much as you care about the quality of the work that takes place on the frontlines, you can come across as an insufferable micromanager if you don’t trust your employees to do their jobs to the best of their ability. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t invest in technologies that can make their lives easier. The rise of AI solutions for small businesses, for example, can ease pressure on frontline employees and ensure that they’re able to focus on the quality rather than quantity of their work. Chatbots are just one example of a solution which can boost user engagement online while fielding simple user questions.
Remember, outsourcing isn’t cheating!
There’s a great argument to be made for outsourcing, yet brand conscious entrepreneurs worry that entrusting aspects of their business to an outside agency may compromise their brand. Yet, overworking yourself and spreading your expertise too thin are infinitely more likely to compromise your brand than outsourcing. Outsourcing elements like HR provision, IT support or marketing are all cost effective ways of getting the services you need at a fraction of the overhead costs. Moreover, the best outsourced service providers will work collaboratively with you, getting to know your brand and involving you heavily in the process.
Take the time to make your life fun
Being an entrepreneur can and should be enjoyable. What’s more, your employees should enjoy working for you. Think of some of the worst jobs you’ve ever had. Think of how you felt when you were working them. Wouldn’t you be mortified if you knew that your employees felt the same way when they came to work for you?
While a productive and motivated workforce should be maintained, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take steps to make your life and the lives of your employees fun. Take the time out to spend time with your employees outside of work. Bring free food to meetings. Set aside a few hours a week for fun team building exercises. Not only will it make your workplace a more dynamic and vibrant place, it will work towards creating a workplace culture in which everyone feels valued and appreciated.
Take a step out of the Japanese playbook
Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and exercising together is a great team building experience. That’s why many Japanese businesses often have their employees start off the day by exercising together. Mental and physical health are key to productivity for you and your employees. Exercising together is a great way of bonding while keeping your minds and bodies healthy.
If you put the right measures into place, being you can be a lot more fun and a lot less stressful!