Being in business these days can really take its toll on you and be at times exhausting. As an experienced business coach, I’m working with a range of clients. Many business owners are absolutely worn out – dealing with staff shortages, supply chain issues, the whole quagmire that is vaccinations, not having enough work and money, having too much work … and then potentially getting COVID or having staff off sick with COVID. It can be very daunting and challenging, to say the very least. However, it doesn’t have to be all bad news.
I have a few tips you might find useful in dealing with the business challenges we face in the ‘new norm’.
Too many business owners are not getting away. With border closures, flight issues and the ever-looming concern of an outbreak, we have excuses to not get away. However, there is plenty to do in Australia – and if you’ve not had a holiday in the last 6 months, then perhaps it’s time now to book one! If, however, you can’t get away for long periods of time, then consider smaller but very regular breaks. Why not an extra-long weekend every month? For those who regularly work on a Saturday (or even all weekend) then taking Friday to Monday off is still only 2 work days, but it’s a decent mini break. I do, however, recommend you actually go away, whether it’s a quick flight to somewhere nice, camping or something else, get out of the house. If you stay at home, chances are you will still be working, but in the yard, cleaning or maintenance. The idea is – get a real break, relax, unwind and recharge.
Have a Positive Morning (and Evening) Routine
In the morning, rather than just hitting the caffeine and then the computer, emails, quotes and paperwork, consider a good morning ritual. Starting with some meditation, reading (especially business education, learning and knowledge improvement), quiet journalling time, vigorous or less strenuous exercise, a walk (your dog will love you) and a good breakfast is a great start to your day. Many people also find it useful to take a few minutes at the beginning of the day to plan the day and work out what you need to do. Just don’t schedule in too much. Also ensure you have a great night routine, where you get to bed at a reasonable hour and action things to ensure a good night’s sleep, like avoiding screens late in the night, avoiding caffeine etc.
Get Organised & Anticipate Problems
One of the issues with supply chains is not getting the product. In fact, whilst many businesses would stock up to 8 weeks of materials, most have now doubled that and making it 16 weeks. Naturally, you’ve got to have somewhere to store this material and also funds to pay for it. Do talk to your supplier; I know some suppliers are offering to store your products (without a fee) as long as you’ve paid for it, it’s your stock. Where ever something might hiccup, how can you anticipate that, prepare for it and have a plan in place to alleviate the problem should it arise?
Do Smart Business
One of the stresses of business these days is financial. Be all over your figures, have realistic (but not too easy) budgets in place, operate a well-oiled machine and even if things go pear-shaped, chances are you’ll be able to cope well because you are all over things. When you’ve got savings in place, minimal debt and you’re closely monitoring your debtors, then the cash will be flowing. That can be one less thing to stress about.
Take Time Out for Self-care
I was talking with one of my business coaching clients a few weeks back and it was about 11am and she was repeatedly yawning. I asked if she was ok, and she said she’d just been ‘burning the candle’ at both ends. Problem is that when we get tired, a few things happen. We are less effective in the business. We can become susceptible to sickness. We can make mistakes and in severe cases, you can fall asleep behind the wheel. No business is worth dying for! Ensure you’re eating well, getting good sleep and seriously if the work isn’t finished, it’s not going anyway. Resume the next day. If you absolutely are under the pump, then perhaps it’s time to get help.
Start Saying ‘No’
If you’re under the pump, it might be time to say ‘no’ a bit more. Maybe it’s no to a telemarketer who just wants “a couple of minutes” (which really equates to much more than that), or a client with an unrealistic deadline, or perhaps that extra client that you really don’t have the capacity to service. Sometimes too, your ‘no’ might be ‘no, right now’ but not forever. I do quite a bit of community and charity work for various organisations and sometimes (as much as they need help) I will say no, because I can’t do everything.
Ask for help. If you’re experiencing depression, or poor mental health and really feel you need some help, reach out to your GP, counsellor or check out some links I have on my website. If you’re struggling in your business, talk to your accountant or a business coach like myself. Sometimes just having someone to talk to, bounce ideas off, get some support and direction and wisdom on which track to be on, and you will do just fine. Remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with reaching out and asking for help.
If you’re not making money (or exceedingly little money) and that’s not likely to change, then potentially it might be time to stop. I know ‘calling it quits’ in a business is a really hard decision, but sometimes it’s one you need to consider. If you’ve had months and months of no profit, or exceedingly low profit whilst still working ‘like a dog’ then you need to ask yourself, should you continue to ‘flog a dead horse’ (awful expression, but you get my meaning). Imagine your profit and wages (combined) is $20K pa. You work 60 hours a week and 50 weeks a year. Mathematically you’re earning $6.67 an hour. That’s not even the Award wage (not by a long shot). Are you better off in a job, rather than the business? But before you pull down the shingle, get a second opinion. Talk to your accountant (or a coach) and ensure it’s not just a short-term problem or something you’re doing very wrong (which can be fixed).
Celebrate the Wins
Stop to be thankful for your wins and what is going well. Rather than focussing only on the negative, consider the positives and what is working well for you. If you’ve got a great team, be sure to genuinely thank them and appreciate them. If you’re busy, many people are not, so be thankful about that. Give yourself (and your team) a pat on the back and be grateful for the good aspects of your business and your life. As tough as things are, there is always someone else doing it harder than you and less fortunate than you. In Australia, we are super fortunate; it’s a spectacular and beautiful country with amazing people and boundless opportunities. If you’re alive and well – then AWESOME! 😊
Check out my business coaching services so that I may help you deal with your business challenges.