Running a business is not an easy thing. It gets so overwhelming sometimes that all you want to do is close shop and move on. When your business consumes your every waking moment and all you do is think about it, then it is time to change your strategies. You cannot live a healthy life when you cannot escape the demands that come with running a business.
Quitting may not be the best option. Other ways, like hiring an expert business manager from freelancer.com, may be one way to go. Other than this, there are other boundaries you can set to help with the stress the business gives you and allow you to separate your personal and work lives. Below are ways to stop your business from devouring you, and allow you long term achievements with less stress.
Learn to manage your time well
Many small business owners are not very good with time management. However, you can change all that and learn how to run your business, and still create time for other things. Do not make all the time you have on your hands business time. To achieve this you have to learn to change a few things, which are:
Set a schedule to allocate time for everything you need to do. If you need to reconnect with clients on social media or go to a meeting, set some time aside for that. If you want to update your website, leave time specifically for that task. Do not try several tasks at once.
Clearly define your working hours, and stick to them. Do not let your customers think you are always at their disposal. If it is time to restock your products, take an inventory, or do something else, do not respond to your clients’ emails just because they want you to. Set an auto reply to your emails when you are completing another task that requires your time. When letting your clients know the times you are available for them, be simple, polite and stick to the point.
Just because you are running a solo business, it does not mean you have to do everything by yourself. You are human, and you tire out sometimes. There are plenty of people trained to do exactly what you do, and you can hire virtual assistants to take over some of your day-to-day tasks. This will give you time to attend to other matters, and maybe even take a rest.
Avoid meetings that take a lot of time, unless they are completely relevant and useful to your business. A meeting that is not clearly defined or does not meet your objectives, gives you absolutely no reason to attend. Look for other ways to achieve the objectives of the meeting without having to make an appearance. Consider calling by phone conversations, or even video conferences.
Do not get too personal
It does wonders for you if you learn to keep your personal life private. If you run a business and still have a social media page, try as much as possible to keep all business between you and your clients completely business-related. Allowing your clients to get personal might lead to situations where it will force you to attend to their every need, whether it is business or personal. Do not encourage any client that wants to get personal on social media, unless they are commenting about your business.
Learn to say no
Saying no without hurting your customers’ feelings is sometimes difficult, but in order for you to improve the quality of your work and the relationship between you and your customers, then do not say yes to everything. Remember, this is your business and you can only work with people that are ideal for it. Saying no is one sure way of bringing your stress levels down, and improving the quality of your work.
Set some work space rules
Have a well-defined workplace if you need to create a good working mode and conditions. If you work from home, make sure your workstation is entirely set aside for your work and not anything else. You cannot work from your kitchen and work while making your meals at the same time. Make sure your family knows when your workstation is out of bounds, so you can carry out your business without any interruptions.
If it gets impossible to work from home, you can always go somewhere where no one will disturb you. If you have a business in a commercial building or in another part of town, make sure you do not mix up several businesses at one place. One or all will fail. Stick to what you are best at doing.
Manage your scope creep well
For solo business owners - especially those in the service industry - sometimes the scope of a client’s project grows with time, and you end up doing more work without any changes to the originally agreed upon fee. Doing this leads to headaches, as you incur losses and you are not sure whether changing anything will lose you a client or not.
As much as you want to keep pleasing your client, you cannot keep up the nice guy/lady persona for long. Doing this would mean hindering your business from living up to its full profit-making potential. Define the project specifications and no matter how much the client complains, stick to them as much as you can. Do not allow clients to take advantage of you. If the project requires more payment, then do not be afraid to charge outside your original fee. Be honest and polite and in most cases, they will understand and see the changes you have made are justified.
It is okay to let go
It can take years to get a business off the ground for some, and a very short time for others. Sometimes you can work for years and years, only to realize nothing is changing and actually, things are getting worse.
If things have all led to failure after failure, then do not feel bad in letting it all go. It is time to count the losses, close shop and take a rest - or start all over again with something entirely different. If it is the location that is the problem, then change to a whole new place and start with new clients from scratch.
Sticking to a business that is not giving you any returns will completely devour you. The more you pump into the business, the more demands the business wants. Swallow your pride, and say enough is enough.
Every small business owner strives for success. Setting boundaries in order to succeed is not just good for your physical health, but also for your business health. Without boundaries, you are looking at either failure or a complete meltdown. You need a mind that is clear from anything weighing you down, in order to climb the ladder and see your business growing to levels you had not anticipated.
The above guidelines will help you in avoiding many business hiccups. Do not let your business devour you, otherwise you will not find any fun in doing business at all. Get out now, and take the necessary action.
Have you set any boundaries to stop your business from devouring you? Want to share some of the boundaries you have set? How have the same boundaries helped in making your business thrive more? If you have not, try some of the ideas above, and share your findings with us.