Why did you decide to become a business owner? Last month, we attended a talk for people in the creative industry and this question was in the air. It wasn’t a revelation to hear that creative people set up businesses so they can be creative, but what was interesting was how this often doesn’t translate into actuality. Instead of doing what they love, which was the whole point of setting up a business in the first place, they end up getting bogged down in administration, finance, HR, etc.
This isn’t a unique problem and, if you too run your own business, then you’re probably nodding along to these entrepreneurial woes! But is it possible to get back to doing what you do best, minus the distractions and stress? We believe it is. Which is why in this blog we’re going to share with you 12 ways to destress your business so you can get back to being passionate about what you do.
1. Have a business plan
Too many businesses do not have an up-to-date business plan. It’s often seen as a chore that doesn’t bring much value, but in all our experience of working with growing businesses, we can say it really is worth it. Why? A business plan answers questions about the future, which is precisely where anxiety comes from. It tells you how much profit you should be making, what your costs should be, how much new business you should be getting in, what your overheads should look like, if you should be hiring new staff, when you should lease equipment and so much more. We don’t believe in overly complicated business plans so keep it simple and make sure it’s up to date!
2. Outsource payroll and VAT
Payroll is time-consuming, not to mention stressful. It needs to be done on time every month and every two months for VAT. From producing payslips to uploading the payment file to the bank and then going on to ROS to do your taxes, payroll can eat up valuable hours from your workday. Which is precisely why it is the perfect problem to outsource. It doesn’t have to cost much either. For five hours a month, our bookkeepers can take payroll and VAT returns off your hands and it’ll cost you just €200.
3. Have a prudent cash reserve
You should have access to enough cash to cover three to six months of costs. This means that even if you don’t make any sales for the next three to six months, you still have the cash to cover bills, rent, salaries and the other essentials required to keep the lights on. Easier said than done, right? Well, cash reserves can mean money in the bank or access to an overdraft facility. We always say that it’s best to look for an overdraft when times are good rather than when you really need it. Not only are banks risk-averse but their processing time is generally slow, so make sure to cover yourself well in advance.
We always say that it’s best to look for an overdraft when times are good rather than when you really need it.
4. Automated collections and credit control
Cash is a huge stressor for business owners. If you don’t have enough cash or there’s no cash coming in or someone hasn’t paid you, it can feel like you’re are constantly on the brink of a crisis. Luckily, there are fantastic applications arriving on the market all the time with the sole purpose of solving this very problem. Chaser and Xero are two brilliant products for chasing debt and, for automated collections, there are Stripe and GoCardless. You’ll still have to give attention to credit control, but it will be a lot less when these tools do the bulk of the work for you.
5. Share your responsibilities
Business owners often assume that cash and profit are things you don’t talk about with your team because it is giving away too much information. But if you include them in the conversation, you can spread the responsibility of making the business a success. This is not about sharing every detail of your finances, but rather showing your team the bigger picture so they have something to strive towards. Key figures in this regard would be the KPIs you are focusing on, your profit margin, your growth in sales and your overheads. A problem shared is a problem halved and more people working to solve the same problem can only help.
6. Keep your numbers up to date
Being in the dark when it comes to your finances is a prime trigger for stress. We’ve already explained why you need a business plan, but it’s equally, if not more, important to have your books in order. Having a process for ensuring your bookkeeping is kept up to date is going to tell you what is happening in your business right now. Systems such as Xero are designed to provide real-time information at your fingertips: what your profit margin is, who owes you money, who you owe money to, and what’s in the bank today. The key to overcoming challenges is knowing where they are to begin with, so keep those books up to date!
We’re 6 hacks in and we have 6 more to go. Can you feel the weight lifting off your shoulders already? We hope so! Keep an eye out for the next blog to find out more ways you can reduce the stress of running your business.