Dealing With the Stress of Managing a Business

a stressed out man.

The Stress of Running a Business and What You Can Do To Deal With It

Owning a business comes with a lot of perks. You are your own boss. You get to follow your passions, and you have more control over your work-life balance. You also get to reap the rewards of making your dreams and vision come true.

There are, however, a few downsides that come with running a business. Stress is one of them. There are numerous things you need to worry about, from employees to suppliers to customers and competitors. You also need to think about expenses, bills, loan payments, among other issues hovering in your mind. It’s vital that you learn how to deal with stress for your health and the overall success of your business.

Learning to manage stress is vital to help keep you and your business healthy. In this post, we will cover the stressors that arise in business. We will discuss how stress can affect you and your business and then provide tips to help keep your stress levels down.

Common Causes of Stress in Business

Let’s start with the issues that cause stress when running a business. Here are the most common stressors in business.

Managing Employees

A woman with her hands on her temples while looking at computer screen.Employees are an essential asset in any business. Without them, your business cannot grow, let alone serve its customers well. Your employees are the ones that perform the day-to-day tasks necessary for achieving the business’s goals and objectives. Managing them, however, comes with its fair share of stress.

According to a survey by Zen Business, the more employees you manage, the more stressful your job is as a manager. As the business owner, you are in charge of your staff. You’ll have to deal with employee conflicts, monitor their performance, and let go of those that lack integrity or are underperforming. You also need to motivate your staff, nurture their talents, and offer training when necessary. Doing all this while managing other tasks in your business can get quite stressful.

Dealing With Suppliers and Partners

Suppliers and partners can also trigger stress when running your business. If you have a supplier that delivers their products late or is unresponsive to emergencies, you may feel frustrated with their service. Your frustration may quickly turn to stress.

For example, assume you run an e-commerce store. You may decide to partner with a logistics company to drop-ship orders to your customers. If your logistics partner fails to deliver on time or damages the products, it may leave you stressed about how you’ll handle the customer complaints and order replacements. It’s vital that you work with partners and suppliers that are reliable and efficient.

Keeping Up With Regulation and Compliance Issues

Every business has compliance and regulation issues that they need to follow. Compliance can be anything from filing tax returns and drafting quarterly financial statements to acquiring licenses and approvals for your business. Some businesses are subject to more regulation and licensing than others.

Complying with regulatory standards can be costly and time-consuming. It can trigger stress, especially if you have to beat deadlines or get approvals to perform a project.

Managing Bills, Expenses, and Payments

Finances are one of the most common stressors not only in business but also in life. Every business incurs expenses, whether through rent, salaries, supplies, or utility costs. Some may have monthly loan payments to make and cash flow statements and balance sheets to create. If your business is not making profits, let alone breaking even, it may cause financial distress because you won’t meet your payment obligations.

Having Too Many Tasks in Your To-do List

Many entrepreneurs and business owners make the mistake of scheduling too many tasks on their to-do lists. Having such a high workload can trigger stress, which may affect your performance. You may end up feeling overwhelmed because you have no control over your schedule. Try and keep your to-do list short and focused on the tasks you can accomplish. Don’t overstretch it.

Of course, there are times when your business requires you to juggle a million tasks at once, and it’s okay. Just take the time to rest and relax afterward so that you don’t suffer a nervous breakdown.

Unrealistic Business Goals and Deadlines

Setting unrealistic goals and deadlines can induce stress to you and your employees. For example, you can’t expect to make a million dollars in sales in your first six months in business. You may end up feeling frustrated and discouraged if you fail to hit your targets. It’s okay to set high goals, but aim for those you can attain and set reasonable deadlines.

Dealing With Customer Complaints

a man rubbing his eyes.Customers play a vital role in any business. They are the people whose problems you are trying to solve and who generate revenue for your business. As you strive to satisfy their needs, also find ways to manage their complaints.

Customer complaints are another huge stressor in business. You may have to deal with customer issues of varying degrees, talk to rude clients, and issue apologies. Try and learn techniques for dealing with customer complaints to ensure you overcome any situations that come your way.

How Stress Affects You and Your Business

As you run your business, strive to keep your stress at manageable levels. The truth of the matter is stress cannot be lacking entirely in your business. You may have to worry about a few issues here and there, like fulfilling an order on time or launching your new site by the end of the month. Extreme stress levels are what you should try and avoid. Let’s look at the ways stress can affect you and your business.

Stress Leads to Anxiety

Stress is one of the most common triggers of anxiety. When you become stressed, you may feel like you have no control over your life or business. You may also feel restless, tense, irritable, and worrisome, which are also signs and symptoms of anxiety. Stress often leads to worry, and it may cause other problems such as depression and insomnia.

Loss of Focus and Motivation

Extreme stress can affect your ability to focus on the tasks and projects at hand. It can make you lose sight of your goals and vision. You may lose the enthusiasm that made you start your business in the first place and the motivation to get up and achieve your objectives. Stress can also lead to burnout, which in turn impacts your business negatively.

Adverse Effects on Wellbeing and Health

Extreme stress is detrimental to your health and wellbeing. It can lead to headaches, high blood pressure, weight gain, and heart attack. Stress may also elevate the risk of diabetes and other health issues. It can leave you feeling tired or sick, which leads to increased absenteeism at your business.

Poor Decision Making

Stress doesn’t just affect your productivity. It can also lead to poor decision-making when running your business. You may feel irritable when talking with employees or lash out at customers that complain about your business. Stress affects your ability to think clearly and thus hinders you from generating creative ideas to grow your business.

While you can’t completely eliminate stress from your business, there are ways to deal with it. Let’s look at how you can manage the stress of running a business.

Work With a Schedule

a stressed out woman looking at computer screen.The first thing you need to do is create a schedule based on the tasks you handle daily. Scheduling allows you to plan your activities in a way that’s realistic and achievable. It enables you to be in control of your day instead of the day controlling you. With a day-to-day schedule, you’ll be able to focus on one task at a time without worrying about others that may demand your attention.

As you build your schedule, ensure you set enough time to handle each work assignment. Don’t take more than you can manage. Only add tasks that you can achieve with the time you have on your hands.

You can decide to work with two schedules, one for your personal life and one for your business, but ensure they don’t overlap. Alternatively, you can choose to work with one that includes both your personal and business life.

Delegate Tasks

As your company transitions from a small business to a slightly larger enterprise, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to your staff. You don’t have to do everything alone. Trust that your employees can handle work assignments like you or even better than you. Grant them the freedom to learn.

Delegating tasks frees up your schedule, allowing you to concentrate on other elements in your business. It enables you to focus on the strategies of tomorrow instead of being bogged down by the responsibilities of today.

Prioritize Your Tasks and Time

As you prepare your schedule, write down all the tasks that need your attention and prioritize them from most to least vital. A good tip would be to schedule the essential ones in the morning when your mind is fresh, then tackle the least important ones in the afternoons. You can also decide to delegate tasks that don’t need much of your attention.

Identify Your Stressors

Stress can arise from many triggers in your business. Some stressors are within your locus of control, while some you can’t control. For example, you can’t control the weather causing a delay in your deliveries. But you can pick the supplier you choose to work with and the tasks you set in your schedule. Identify your stressors so that you can deal with the ones in your control and accept the ones you can’t.

Take Time to Relax and Unwind

Plan your off-time as if it were an essential task. Always take time to unwind from the busy day, week, or month. Relaxing ensures you don’t burn out.

You can use your off-time to spend time with family, sleep, travel, or do any other thing that does not pertain to your business. Try and resist the urge to check emails or join work meetings during your break. Your off-time is your time to de-stress from the pressures of your business.

Practice Stress Management Techniques

A woman rubbing her eyes with her head down.

There are numerous stress management techniques that you can do to keep stress levels down. You can practice daily meditation, exercise, sleep, nature walks, even your hobbies, and interests. Whether listening to music, playing soccer, running, or cycling, add these activities to your daily or weekly schedule to help you deal with stress.

Stress management techniques not only reduce stress but also help you in other aspects of your life. Meditation, for instance, strengthens your focus for long periods. Nature walks make you feel more positive about life. Hobbies like cycling and dancing enable you to manage your weight while replenishing your energy and enthusiasm for work.

Remind Yourself of the Things That are Going Well

Take note of the things that are going well in your business the same way you recognize those that aren’t. Reminding yourself of what’s working can be anything from assessing your business goals to checking your to-do list. Appreciate the tasks you’ve managed to cross off your to-do list, the milestones you’ve hit, and the small accomplishments you have achieved.

Recognizing the good things in your business gives you the motivation to keep moving forward. It gives you something to be glad about and shows you that all is not lost. You can write down the things going well on a list and look at them when you feel stressed or nervous. There might be more of them than you think.

It’s Okay to Say ‘No’

As you run your business, you might have many growth opportunities coming your way. You may also have tasks and projects that demand your attention popping in from all corners. You don’t have to say yes to everything. It’s okay to say no or ‘not now.’ Try not to bite more than you can chew. If you feel that you don’t have time for a task or it doesn’t fit in your schedule, just say no.

Conclusion

Running a business requires you to balance many tasks and activities on a day-to-day basis. You have to think about your employees, suppliers, cash flow, customers, and so on. Trying to tackle everything might leave you exhausted at best and stressed out at worst.

Learn to manage your stress to ensure it doesn’t negatively affect you and your business. Only schedule the tasks you can achieve within the available time, and remember to delegate others to your team. Don’t forget to take a break to relax and de-stress from your business. Practice stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, or engaging in your hobbies.

Resources

Below are a few resources we put together that can help you deal with the stress of managing a business. You may want to bookmark this page to come back anytime to use the resources.

Books

Books are an excellent method to learn more about dealing with business stress.

You have complete freedom to work at your own speed and whenever you choose. In addition, many books are well-structured and divided into subtopics. As a result, you’ll be able to process the information as needed. You can go right to a chapter or read the book from cover to cover, it’s up to you.

I’m not a big reader, but I like listening to audiobooks while driving or doing anything else that doesn’t take much thought. So instead, I’ll be able to concentrate on the audio message.

See the most recent Google search results for dealing with business stress.

Courses

a man drowning in paperwork.Taking a course may help you learn more about dealing with stress and get a better understanding of it.

Depending on your requirements and learning style, you may utilize a course in several ways. For example, you may choose to skim over parts of the course that you are already familiar with before diving further into the subjects you want to learn more about.

Another thing to keep in mind while taking a course is to make sure it is written by a well-known author. Anyone can develop and publish a course, but you’ll want to learn from someone with expertise to get the best results.

To get a feel of how good the course is, read reviews from individuals who have previously completed the course.

Spend a few minutes looking at the most recent Google search results for courses related to dealing with stress.

News

Another method to learn about dealing with business stress is to follow the news. For example, you may discover news stories related to how stress affects business owners by going to Google News and entering, “business stress” in the search box to show the most recent and archived results.

Click here to see the most current news related to business stress.

Videos

I prefer watching videos over reading because it relieves me of the stress of concentrating and focusing on reading material.

Another advantage of utilizing YouTube is that many videos are just a few minutes long, so I can watch five or ten videos in a half-hour and get a decent introduction to almost any topic.

The most recent YouTube videos related to business stress can be found here.