For many entrepreneurs, running a small business is exhilarating and liberating. You not only have control over daily operations, but you can decide who you want to work with, and you can even choose to turn your passion into your business. Small business ownership also gives many people a deep sense of pride in building something of their own.
However, running a small business comes with its fair share of challenges that can often be overwhelming. You have to deal with a lengthy list of tasks like maintaining inventory, fulfilling customer orders and resolving customer complaints. Finding the right staff and keeping them enthusiastic about working for you is also tough, not to mention managing the business finances and making sure you stay afloat. All these things can take away time with your friends and family and wear you down physically and mentally. Before you know it, the business that was once a source of pride is now taking over your entire life.
But whether you're an employee our you own the company you work for, you're bound to face challenges. To reap the rewards that come from small business ownership, you'll need to learn how to cope with the daily grind and achieve good work-life balance.
Here are seven tips that will help you maintain a well-rounded life while running your business:
1. Begin With a Plan
As with almost goal you want to achieve, starting with a plan gives you a guideline for success. Whether it’s for a balanced personal life or growing your clientele, having clear objectives will lessen your mistakes and get you to your goals faster. However, remember to make your goals SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Break up your objectives into small actionable items and create a manageable to-do list. Set a reasonable time frame for achieving these tasks and goals. Stick to your schedule and review it once in a while to see whether you need to adjust your pace.
2. Track Your Progress
Set milestones to keep track of your progress towards the goal. Most people tend to put off taking action if the deadline seems far away. To avoid this, create smaller goals you can evaluate more often. These serve as guideposts to the bigger goal and help in assessing the effectiveness of your plan. Set aside time to evaluate your accomplishments, results, and progress. Tweak your strategy if you missed or exceeded your mini-goals.
3. Learn to Delegate
Most entrepreneurs either run their businesses single-handedly or have a lean team of a few people. They would sometimes prefer to do everything themselves—even the menial, time-consuming tasks involved in operating the business. Learning to delegate non-strategic tasks, such as website maintenance and administrative work, through outsourcing helps business owners focus more on revenue-generating activities. And if you’re swamped with several projects, it’s best to hire skilled people and train them. You don’t have to micromanage with competent people on board, giving you more time for important things.
4. Catch a Break
You don't have to feel guilty about taking a break. Studies have shown that having one actually increases productivity. It may sound counterintuitive, especially if you’re on a tight deadline, but a brief diversion from the task improves your focus and performance. Breaking the monotony of work makes your brain aware of the change and enables it to respond quicker. There’s nothing wrong with your attention; it’s just that the brain considers constant stimulation, like repetitive work, as unimportant.
Moreover, similar to other muscles in the body, your brain becomes exhausted after prolonged use. It needs time to recover by taking short breaks when faced with long, monotonous tasks.
5. Take Care of Your Body
It’s not rare to hear about small business owners falling ill due to overwork and stress. Some people have different responses to stress, but no one is immune to it. Aside from a host of diseases, chronic stress over a prolonged period also affects mental health. Look out for symptoms of stress that cause changes in your body. Engage in physical activities like regular exercise to boost energy, improve mood, get better sleep, and stave off other health problems. Also, eat healthier foods to fuel your body’s nutritional needs.
6. Have a Support System
Your family should be part of your support system. They are the first ones to feel the consequences of your business decisions. Spend more quality time with them and be present mentally. Communicate the importance of getting their unwavering support. Outside the home, you also need to establish connections with like-minded people who can help with your growth. There are organizations and peer-coaching groups that will gladly lend a helping hand. Surround yourself with positive, motivated entrepreneurs and avoid overly critical, negative people.
7. Learn to Say "No"
Turning down a service request is hard, especially if it came from your biggest client. Assess your capabilities and resources in handling the job, as well as your time in taking on another project. Saying no to unwelcomed requests may hurt your reputation with the client, but it’s better than delivering mediocre output. You should be providing top-notch service to make your clients satisfied, as well as showing your serious dedication to work.
There is no panacea for balancing a small business with your personal life; instead, make the latter your utmost priority. Most business leaders agree that it’s important to take care of yourself first before devoting time to your work. Keeping your business competitive and running smoothly will require lots of energy. And without stamina, you might not be able to keep up.
A good work-life balance makes you more self-motivated and productive. By following the tips listed above, you'll be better able to take your business to greater heights without sacrificing your personal life.[Featured image via Pexels]