Reducing Stress and Burnout Leads to Ultimate Small Business Success

Reducing Stress and Burnout Leads to Ultimate Small Business Success

Nearly every job is stressful at certain times. Whether it’s meeting tight deadlines, creating dynamic presentations or dealing with unruly customers or employees, workers experience stress in a number of ways.

For small businesses, stress is a common occurrence among owners and staff members. Enterprises often lack the resources and capabilities of their larger counterparts, and therefore have to handle many tasks at once rather than delegating them to certain departments or outsourcing them to other companies.

This causes stress levels to rise and can eventually lead to owner and employee burnout if left unchecked. Fortunately, there are many methods that, as a small-business owner, you can implement to reduce stress and keep everyone happy, healthy and motivated.

1. Revise your habits: Everyone has a habit of how they do things, and this also pertains to work. While some habits are highly effective, others may be slowing you and your staff down. USA Today suggests taking a look at your daily work habits and changing them to become more efficient. Altering your commute or taking extra, smaller breaks throughout the day may bring down stress levels.

2. Log off email after work: In the age of smartphones, work is now always in the palm of our hands. However, checking email after you and your employees have left work interferes with any personal or relaxation time. The Washington Post recommends that owners and staff members refrain from sending and answering emails when not at work unless it’s an emergency. Keeping work-related emails in between working hours helps you and your employees unplug and unwind.

3. Lean on other small business: In many cases, taking the time to talk to someone about stress and possible burnout helps alleviate problems. Finding other small-business owners who understand and have experienced what you are going through helps you build a strong support system, Fox Business states.

4. Get to the gym: Working out is a great stress reliever. Spending time in the gym can help you work out frustrations and clear your head, writes USA Today. Encouraging yourself and your staff members to get active helps reduce stress levels and avoid burnout.

5. Spend time with your family: As a small-business owner, you may have had to sacrifice time with your family to get work-related responsibilities taken care of. Unfortunately, this contributes to stress and leads to burnout too often. Fox Business recommends setting aside time each week to spend with family that helps take your mind off of work and gets you in tune with your loved ones.

You can also take advantage of business coaching services to discuss ways in which you can make your small company an enjoyable place to work by engaging staff and keeping yourself and your employees motivated, happy and loyal.

Just like any other task, putting practices in place to decrease stress takes time and effort. However, by implementing strategies for you and your employees to get rid of stress, your operations will reap the benefits of a more energized workforce, leading to small business success.

Time is Money: How to Increase Business Productivity

Time is Money: How to Increase Business Productivity

There is one ingredient that every owner, worker and company needs in order to realize business success: productivity.

There is one ingredient that every owner, worker and company needs in order to realize business success: productivity.

There are many moving parts within a business. Whether it’s hiring talented employees, developing innovative products and services, or effectively reaching out to customers, each aspect is vital to operations. However, there is one ingredient that every owner and employee needs in order to realize business success: productivity.

Without productive staff members, processes and procedures, organizations may run into issues with completing important tasks and reaching their established goals. Therefore, it should be one of a business owner’s top priorities to encourage productivity and efficiency throughout the company. By making productivity a focus, owners can motivate their staff to help streamline operations and bring about success.

Make productivity a collaborative approach
Becoming more productive as a business owner may start as an individual effort, but in order to bring about change within the entire enterprise, employees need to adopt the same mindset.

There are several habits that both owners and employees can adopt to boost productivity. In an article for LinkedIn, human resources and strategy consultant Jappreet Sethi stated that writing out a plan – whether the task is big or small – is the first important step. By doing this, you and your employees are able to see the various steps and procedures that have been laid out. Additionally, this provides you with a blueprint of your goals as well as clear path to completion, Sethi wrote.

He also suggested that you, as an owner, and your employees come up with a time frame for the completion of each step and the project as a whole. This puts a system into place that allows you to monitor how much progress is being made and which tasks still remain. Sethi stated that time management is one of the most important components for productivity and it’s essential you and your staff members make a list of priorities to ensure time is being spent wisely and critical tasks are being completed.

There are many strategies that owners can follow, such as business coaching, to implement productive practices within their organizations. But in the end, owners and employees need to work together to become more efficient.

Be mindful of productivity habits
Productivity requires owners and employees to think through their work and stay on top of what needs to be done. However, there are other aspects that as an owner, you need to be mindful of if you want to make your business operations more efficient. Business 2 Community recommended letting go of the need for everything to be perfect. A lot of time can be wasted by trying to make every process error free.

In addition, B2C suggested that owners forget the old way of doing things if a new practice is more effective. By taking feedback to improve current procedures, productivity can easily be boosted and business success can follow.

Use time management to your advantage

Use time management to your advantage

Focusing on time management can lead to a more productive and happier workforce.

Focusing on time management can lead to a more productive and happier workforce.

Successful businesses usually translate to busy executives, managers and employees. Taking advantage of optimization services like breakthrough consulting can provide major benefits for companies, and some simple time management advice can also help out workers.

A recent article from Entrepreneur magazine pointed out that immediate urgency and long-term importance are very different concepts that often operate at cross purposes. Short-term decisions made to the benefit of current deadlines and goals can negatively affect long-range plans and even poorly influence personal health. Balancing the two ideas can be difficult, but useful advice from Entrepreneur can help workers be successful in the short and long runs.

Schedule and prioritize

A good plan for the day’s tasks goes a long way toward minimizing stress and confusion. Instead of working to meet deadlines and not leaving time for review, corrections or even just a few minutes to breathe, Entrepreneur recommends following a schedule that is adaptable, allowing for the reality of unforeseen circumstances disrupting a thought-out timetable for the day.

A schedule should have a variable scope – the ability to change based on unavoidable issues that can crop up – but still be followed so that some work is done on a planned task. By staying ahead of deadlines, you also provide enough time to handle unexpected problems without too much stress. Sticking to a schedule day after day means developing good habits.

Most people are fresher at the beginning of the day than at the end, so putting the most important tasks at the beginning of a schedule means the time spent on them is of a higher quality. It’s easier to create a sense of accomplishment and a positive attitude when a larger project is completed at the beginning of the day, which can spur further progress.

Plan time away from work too

Scheduling your free time may not seem like fun, but making some small changes can have a big impact on productivity at work and how much you enjoy your time out of the office as well. The Economic Times said that changes as simple as a slightly earlier bedtime or a change in when you eat meals – especially if you feel sleepy after eating – can impact your productivity on the job. The same goes for getting in some physical activity each day and having a little quiet time to think.

When your business turns to professional consulting services to help reach the next level of productivity, ask about time management advice that can benefit your staff.

A Look Under the Hood | Decision Making Q and A with the Expert

A Look Under the Hood | Decision Making Q and A with the Expert

a look under the hoodThe WorkSMARTERBetter™ webinar team sat down with Chet Holmes International’s VP of Business Growth, Bill Sifflard, to get his professional opinion on where business leaders go astray when it comes to decision making. Bill has spent decades under the hoods of hundreds of businesses, figuring out how to restore them to optimum performance. We wanted to know what clues Bill looks for when he diagnoses businesses’ decision making problems. These are some of the questions he asks.

How much of your time is spent making tactical versus strategic decisions?

Put another way, are you spending your time calculating the cost of pens for the office, or are you laying out a new marketing strategy? On average, leaders are spending only 20% of their time on strategic decisions. Their days are filled giving thumbs up or down on a host of lesser decisions, and then all of a sudden, they find no time has been spent on the really important ones.

What’s your decision making process like? How does it work?

An example: I took over a manufacturing business. One day, the VP of Engineering walks in and says, I have some decisions that need to be made. He went through the list – all of them were technical decisions. He asked, “So what do we do?” And I said, “Well, you’re the VP.” He answered, “Yeah, but the last boss always told me what to do.” He wanted to give me the monkey on his back – a monkey his previous boss was all too happy to take. He was wasting time making decisions he paid others to make. These leaders don’t empower their people to make decisions, and then their employees don’t have a vested interest. That’s one type of decision-making process error.

The other type looks like this: employees make a decision and the boss finds out what it was weeks or months later. They are hands-off—literally washing their hands of the repercussions. Both parties suffer in this scenario.

Responsibility must be shared effectively up and down the ladder in order for the best decisions to create real change.

How good of a delegator are you? How do you choose what to delegate versus what to handle personally?

What type of decisions should you be responsible for? That’s the first and hardest decision to make. For very small businesses, it’s typically a one-man show – but they still need a decision making process, not just a throw at the dartboard approach. For larger businesses, it’s a matter of bringing in people you trust and giving them full authority to make certain decisions – and then actually letting them make them.

Leaders who are poor delegators are typically afraid others will make the wrong decisions. They feel a deep obligation to the success of the business but are convinced that they’re the only person who can make the right choices. They also are worried about losing authority.

On the other hand, leaders who are fine with delegating often have the opposite problem: they delegate too much. They are afraid of failure but at the same time acknowledge something needs to be done, so they let others handle it without any checks and balances in place. It’s great to let others take ownership of their areas, but they need to be a bigger part of the overall process, so they understand the full ramifications of the decisions they are making.

How do you keep your finger on the pulse of your organization?

Many business owners haven’t learned how to ask the right questions or get the right feedback to make good decisions. They don’t have the right metrics to make the higher level strategic decisions. Their employees don’t understand what the goals and objectives are.

Oftentimes, business leaders end up overwhelmed by information – but it’s the wrong information. Too much input and intel. Chet Holmes talked about the problem with “got-a-minute meetings”. There’s no processes or controls on what the business leader is asked to decide. They lose control of the goals and strategic objectives.

Are you in growth mode or crisis mode?

This is apparent from a quick look at the books. Clues would be declining sales, smaller profits, lengthening sales cycles, and cash flows problems. Some business leaders are in denial. The “Yeah, but…” defensive statements pepper conversations on what to do now. After the truth comes out, the next step is to figure out why they’re in crisis mode, and it’s always about their fears – primarily a fear of failure. Operating in crisis mode sometimes looks like extreme proactivity. They’re working at a hundred miles an hour, willing to try anything. The problem is, they’re making emotional choices and not thinking them through. Fear narrows their focus requiring the need for an outside perspective.

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CMO SHORT: Short Attention Spans Tank Businesses in More Ways than One

CMO SHORT: Short Attention Spans Tank Businesses in More Ways than One

Getting help to achieve moreYou need customers. You are consistently telling them you are here. But, it feels like you are yelling into the void. Wasting energy and efforts you can’t, frankly, afford to waste.

What is the glaring issue?goldfish

The average American has an 8 second attention span. (Vs a goldfish at 9 seconds)

Attention spans shrank by 50%over the past decade.

Think about that. Or better yet, let’s test it out (on let’s say) your elevator pitch. Click the timer on your cell phone and go to it. Can you even spit it out in 8 seconds, much less hope to make an impact that hooks them? Remember, today every second counts. Most likely your prospect has already lost interest, and if they aren’t physically walking away they definitely have already checked out mentally. Poof! You are just another talking head.

Primary causes of lost attention span include stress (sited by 18%) and decision overload (by 17%). Additional culprits include lack of sleep, technology overload and poor job satisfaction. I’m sure you can relate. Take this Psychology Today Attention Span Test HERE to see how you perform, because you don’t have endless attention either. As a leader though, the stakes become much higher and the causes that disrupt your attention are even stronger.

TIME MANAGEMENT HELPSharpening your skills around focus is a powerful one for business leaders and owners to “pay attention” to… pun intended. A simple and robust place to start is with Time Management. With never enough time in a day, got-a-minute interruptions by staff and business issues running rampant, technology disruptions hitting you from every direction and so on, time management skill growth is the time tested game changer for any business. Let’s get some outside perspective on how you handle time management HERE.

There are thousands of time management resources, tools and advice (1.78 billion search results) to comb through. That is if you can maintain the attention to do so. Honestly though, you are an individual. With individual needs. A system built from tested methodologies with the addition of a third party perspective to frame it specifically around you is your best option. Bend time to your will.

IN SHORT:

For your market, make your messages hit home quickly and with impact that they have to pay attention to. What moves the market.

For you, you’ll quickly find that by using time management to your advantage it will focus your mind on what matters. What moves the needle.

Onward and upward!

Shiloh Kelly, Chief Marketing Officer at CHI

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