Are you an entrepreneur struggling to get back that first love feeling of setting up your company because now every day seems to be just one long, never-ending battle with administration, finance and HR? If yes, then it’s time to destress your business with our tips. This is part 2 of our 12 hacks to reduce the stress of running a business blog series, so if you missed the first blog make sure to track back and have a read for great business tips. Once you’re ready, scroll down to business tip number 7!
7. Concentrate on activities instead of results
Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.
If those lyrics sound vaguely familiar it is because they’re from that 1991 hit “Everyone’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”. The sentiment is as apt today as it was then. Worrying about the fact that you’re not hitting your targets will not make getting results any easier. It sounds obvious, but too often business owners become obsessed with the numbers rather than investing that energy into the activities that generate profit. There are three main types of KPIs, and they include lagging KPIs, leading KPIs and activity KPIs. By focusing on activity KPIs you stop waiting to see the results of a process and instead start influencing the activity that produces revenue.
8. Streamline and gamify your business systems
Do you find that you’re the only person in the office able to make up an invoice? It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing everything because no one but you understands how to work your clunky systems. But this isn’t a very efficient way to run a business. By streamlining day-to-day tasks, such as making up quotes or ensuring clients meet their payments, you can design efficient workflows and share responsibilities with your team. After all, let’s admit it, finance can be scary! When you’re jumping between ROS, accounts, spreadsheets and cashflows it’s easy to plummet into a bad mood. But there is a movement toward the gamification of finance which involves the presenting of information in a way that works for you. Systems such as Xero simplify these kinds of processes so that you and your team can easily sign in, whether it is from their desk or their mobile, and get to work reducing that to-do list!
9. Increase the price of your product/service
Young businesses tend to try and win market share by offering generous discounts and introductory rates. When it’s just you and your business you can get away with this for a while, but once you have a team around you and overheads, there is a real danger of giving away too much for too little. If you’ve arrived at the point where your revenue isn’t adequately covering your costs, it could be time to increase your prices. When was the last time you reviewed your pricing and packages? An annual cost increase of 3% – 4% is accepted and expected in most industries. While bad clients may leave you because they were only ever with you for the discount, good clients will not be so price-sensitive because they do not mind paying for value.
10. Push back with your staff
What kind of management style do you have? While it’s nice to be nice, if you’re finding your soft management style is being taken advantage of by your team then it could be time to shake things up. These situations don’t necessarily occur with malicious intent, but rather can happen subconsciously when staff members are kept at a distance from the stresses and strains of keeping a business running. It’s important that your team knows what is at stake. To get your team in the right frame of mind you may have to push back and remind people that they are here because they have a job to do. If you are paying the market rate for a fair contribution, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be demanding a strong output from your team.
11. Get a business coach
Getting a business coach is a great idea for anyone running their own business. By having an experienced professional on your side, you get access to valuable business insights while also being challenged on your assumptions about your business. It’s easy to develop blind spots when you’re deep in the trenches! A business coach (sometimes known as a financial coach) can help you see the big picture because they’re not embroiled in the nitty-gritty of day-to-day tasks. It does take some gumption to go out and find a coach because it involves asking for help. But an hour or two per month with an experienced guide can be transformative for your business because you get a chance to tackle head-on those pesky problems that are keeping you awake at night.
12. Is your company properly capitalised?
Growing companies require money, which may sound counterintuitive, but it really isn’t! From the outside, if you see a company growing from €2 million to €10 million, you assume they must be making a good profit. But the reality is that it probably takes a €2 million to €3 million investment to get that company to make this kind of growth. Where does this money come from? There are two ways a company can access this investment fund and they are debt and equity. The problem with loans from banks and creditors is that as soon as you have them you need to pay them back, which puts stress on your cash flow. Equity, which comes from yourself, your staff or a venture capitalist, is far less risky but it does come with a certain dilution of your proportion of ownership. For this reason, relying too heavily on either is not best practice and we advise a 50/50 mix.
Unfortunately, there is not one magic cure-all for business stress. However, if you can apply even just a handful of these tips to your business, we’re convinced you’ll see a difference and hopefully you’ll be inspired to further tweak your processes for even more effective results!