For your business to truly thrive, it must be built on strong foundations. This does not only mean having a well thought out business plan, but ensuring that you are able to bring your best self to your business every day.
The path of an entrepreneur is not easy, and long, demanding hours can lead to becoming overwhelmed and burnt-out if you lack the mechanisms to deal with the often relentless stresses of running a growing business.
Your own personal wellbeing is inextricably linked to the wellbeing and longevity of your business, so it is vital to ensure you are equipped to handle those demands. Taking time to prioritise your own needs means not only avoiding the dreaded burn-out, but making sure you are at the top of your game when it comes to steering your ship in the right direction.
Set clear boundaries
Especially in the early stages of your business, you can feel like your time and attention is being pulled in a whole slew of directions all at once, leaving you frazzled and running from one task to the next with no clear direction of where you are going.
Setting and sticking to strict boundaries for yourself is instrumental in achieving balance in your work and personal life, and being able to clearly communicate these boundaries to those around you ensures both you and your time are being respected.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by establishing office hours for yourself. Working to this schedule will motivate you to make the best use of this time, and work with increased purpose and focus. Similarly, having a cut-off time when it comes to answering calls and emails can keep those feelings of overwhelm at bay, while giving you valuable time to decompress at the end of your workday.
Learn to say “no”
For many entrepreneurs, the idea of turning down a potential opportunity may sound counter intuitive. However, building a successful business means making the right decisions at the right time, and this means knowing when to say “no”.
Before automatically accepting every opportunity that comes along, take a minute to consider whether it is aligned with your current goals, will help move your business forward, or whether it will simply be a drain on your valuable time and resources.
Delegate and automate
It is not necessary to take on every single task yourself, and doing so can quickly result in overloading yourself with responsibility.
Small, repetitive jobs can become a real drain on time and should be automated, whether it’s marketing emails or staff payroll. This will lighten your own workload, and free up time to work on things that move your business forward.
Likewise, effectively delegating those tasks which are not your speciality will save you additional effort and stress, while increasing your productivity by freeing you up so you can laser-focus in on more important tasks.
Celebrate your achievements
It is easy to be so entrenched in your work that you neglect to celebrate the important milestones you and your business reach along the way.
Each of these achievements – whether it is making your first hire, or completing your first profitable year – took countless hours of hard work and dedication so it is valuable to acknowledge your efforts. This is particularly important in keeping you motivated during hard times, and using this momentum to drive you towards bigger and better things.
Take time to think about what lesson you learned from these successes, and how they can be applied to your next big plans.
Being a business owner can be a lonely experience that can slowly sap at your motivation, energy and quite often, your health. Having well-developed networks that you can access in times of increased stress is therefore vital in not becoming cut-off from those around you.
Whether you choose to join a business network, or just take time out with your friends and family, it can go a long way in combatting those feelings of isolation. Talking through the challenges you and your business may be facing can help you gain more perspective on them, while allowing you to unload some of the stresses that can result in burn-out.
Support can also be in the form of self-improvement. There are a wealth of resources for growing entrepreneurs to improve and develop skills, and can help you feel more prepared in taking on the challenges of a growing business. Books, podcasts, workshops and especially coaches and mentors can all assist you on your business journey, so take full advantage of the resources that are available to you.
Given the demands of running a business, it is unsurprising so many entrepreneurs succumb to burnout, or simply develop a lack of passion and motivation for their work, which means business inevitably suffers. However you choose to do it, taking the time to invest in yourself and your own long-term wellbeing is also an essential investment in your business.