Being a business owner – or a business leader – is not for sissies. The position comes with massive responsibility, not only for yourself and your family, but your employees and their families. The stresses of business ownership and leadership come with the territory, but when they start keeping you up at night, you need to take action.
These are the six major stresses that result in sleepless nights, and make my phone ring in the morning:
Most business owners worry about cashflow and money in the bank to pay suppliers and their employees. The only way to sleep at night is if you are on top of it on a monthly, weekly and even daily basis. You need to know exactly what money is coming in, when, and nip it in the bud when it doesn’t!
A growing business results in a growing team of people you need to manage. There are two reasons why your team could be preventing you from resting. Firstly, business leaders worry that their key high performing staff members will leave them. Secondly, they worry that their problematic non-performing employees will stay with them forever! Look after your key employees so they won’t want to leave, but make peace with the fact that no one is irreplaceable. If they are not performing, you need to strike while the iron is hot, and deal with issues through training, disciplinary action or mentorship as they arise.
Work life balance
Business owners and leaders often share a belief that they need to work harder than anyone else and therefore work longer hours than their team. The job description of a business owner or executive and their daily task lists are never ending. We simply don’t ever have the luxury of saying, “I am finished for the day”. However, if you don’t draw a line in the sand, the effects of over-working will soon take its toll on your business. So instead of saying you can’t afford to take time out, ask yourself if you can afford not to.
Politics and the economy
Some things are out of your control. The economy is one example. In South Africa, there are added stresses around BEE issues, currency fluctuations and investor confidence. Often, these political and economic stresses are exacerbated by the mindset and belief systems of the business owners and leaders who feel helpless and victimised. By reframing perceptions and attitudes, we often find creative and innovative solutions that can lead to a competitive advantage.
The cost of doing business
This is no joke. With the rising costs of electricity, petrol and diesel, rent, labour costs, etc, business expenses are going up exponentially. In addition, businesses need to help their employees keep up with inflation by paying them more. Business owners are faced with the stresses of absorbing the costs within the business and finding ways to reduce overheads and expenses. Alternatively, the costs need to be passed on to the customers, which many business owners fear will drive them away. Budgeting, forecasting, projections, managing margins and systems and processes can help keep business costs at bay.
Leads and sustainability
No business can survive without new business. Finding new clients, new income streams, new products or services, or new markets is never far from the minds of business leaders. These stresses become more manageable when the company has a vision, objectives, and long and short term plans in place. When business owners are busy making it happen, they don’t have time to worry about what might not happen.
Business stresses are a problem when there is no plan in place to manage them. If any of these issues are keeping you awake at night, give me a call and let’s find a cure for that business owner insomnia!