Small business owners are notorious for burning the candle at both ends as they struggle to meet all of the demands placed upon them as they build and develop their businesses.
Eventually, the constant demands on one’s time, the lack of sufficient rest and respite, and the constant pressures of making the weekly payroll, can take their toll and the business owner may find themselves ending up with a very flat battery.
The temptation to simply soldier on and hope for the best, regardless of the price paid personally, is generally overwhelming for most small business owners who find themselves in this difficult situation. Unfortunately, for most who reach this point, it is hard for them to see that they are fighting against themselves in a battle they can’t, realistically, ever expect to win.
What is the problem
The problem for a business owner of soldiering on without the necessary battery power to provide forward momentum, is that they will find that at very best their business slowly grinds to a standstill, and at worst, they will find themselves operating a business that is actually sliding downhill fast.
Prevention is easier than the cure
As with most ailments that develop over time, prevention is usually far easier than the cure.
As a business owner, it is most advisable that you ensure that the energy level in your personal battery never dips below the level where it can fire you up each morning, full of energy and enthusiasm for the challenges of the coming day.
So what can a business owner do to avoid their energy levels dropping to the point where their battery is absolutely flat?
Firstly, understand and accept the following:
- The human body was not created to function 24/7 and perform effectively under constant stress, and the body itself requires adequate rest, exercise, and appropriate fuel to operate at its optimum level.
- The human brain needs strong blood flow to deliver the oxygen it needs, and deep breathing whilst not stressed out, is a good way to deliver the oxygen needed to enhance the brains ability to reason, exercise sound judgement, and make effective decisions.
- If you don’t give your body and your brain what they need on a regular and consistent basis, they will both adjust to lower levels of performance, making it much harder for them to be encouraged back to peak performance in the future.
- The longer this situation is allowed to continue, the harder and longer the recovery period will be, and the less likely a return to full peak performance, will be achieved.
Secondly, consider the following business truisms, and take appropriate action:
- Doing everything yourself, rather than delegating or outsourcing non critical activities, is never going to make the best use of your time, skills, or energy.
- No business plan ever properly formulated, had a key objective of killing or destroying the mental or physical health, of the business owner.
- Working on the business itself is as important, if not more important in most cases, than working in the business.
- No business owner ever got wealthy or lived to a ripe age through flogging a dead horse.
- Without sound foundations, good support mechanisms, consistent and regular cash flows, competent and committed staff, sound business policies, procedures and practices, and good leadership, the chances of long term business success are minimal.
Thirdly, a separate focus on a range of activities outside the business itself is necessary to provide:
- A sense of balance and a mental break from constant focus on the business.
- Alternative experiences to encourage development of different perspectives of problems and issues, new perspectives which can be applied back in the business.
- Self-development, personally and professionally, in an environment more conducive of delivering the required learning outcomes.
- Activities which involve socialising with family and friends and letting them know that their support helps both sustain you in your business, and provides the reasons to continue.
Finally, make time just for yourself to:
- Regularly sit quietly alone and uninterrupted and reflect on your own contributions to your business and the effectiveness of those contributions, and note any adjustments you can make to reduce the personal impost, that the business places upon you as the owner.
- Reward yourself with a bit of regular personal pleasure, be that a massage, a long walk, a hard run, a quiet drink in your favourite bar, an afternoon nap, a bit fishing or gardening, or any other activity that is for your pleasure alone.
- Contemplate what life after your business life will look like (assuming the business doesn’t kill you first).
There you have it, four areas in which you can take appropriate action to ensure that your personal battery never goes flat and causes your business to grind to a standstill, or rapidly go downhill.
- Are you finding that you are rapidly approaching the stage when you might end up with a flat battery
- Are you aware of the needs of your body and brain for adequate rest, exercise and fuel
- What are you going to do to ensure that your battery never goes flat