Stress sucks. I mean it literally sucks the life out of you. Let’s face it, you only have so many hours a day to accomplish everything on your daily to-do list. From meeting a potential client to following up with a new vendor, sometimes it seems like the day will never be long enough.
But before you let the pressures of running a small business get to you, take a deep breath and sit back. Why? Because it’s time for you to connect with your inner Zen Master who wants you to remain calm and happy. In the words of Douglas Adams: DON’T PANIC. If you want to be a stress-free small business owner, follow these tips.
What are the most important tasks you want to accomplish each day? Think about it and create a brief list. Why brief? If you make a long list, you won’t be able to finish everything by the end of the day. It’s also important to select a task or two that will make you feel good after you’ve accomplished them.
As a small business owner, you wear multiple hats. Not only are you meeting with clients and speaking with customers, but you’re also solving your employees’ problems. Or perhaps you’re easily distracted by everything you have to complete in a day. Whenever you lose focus, step back and assess the situation. Figure out what’s important versus what’s urgent. Then focus on doing what’s important and leave the urgent.
Learn How to Say No
Sometimes, you have to say no. You can’t be everything to everyone. And if you try to be, not only will you burn out, but you’ll also disappoint the people around you. Saying no doesn’t have to be difficult. For example, if your business has a large order to fill, you may have to skip lunch with a contact that wants to “pick your brain” to make sure the order is processed and shipped on time. Don’t feel guilty about saying no to the lunch—your business should be your priority.
If you want to be more productive, do less. This may seem counterintuitive, but doing less actually helps you do more. How? By breaking up a big project into small, manageable steps that you can work on daily, you’ll feel as if you’ve accomplished something at the end of each day. Then pause for a moment and reflect on all that you’ve completed. You’ll feel happier and want to tackle the project again tomorrow.
Connect With Your Customers
Now more than ever, it’s important to connect with your customers on a personal level. Why? Because people expect it. They also expect to receive a personal response. For example, if a customer tweets a complaint about your product or service, he or she expects you to reply with a personalized response. And when you do, be sure to use the pronoun “I.” It shows that you and your business care. Remember, people connect with people. Treat customers like family and friends, and your business will receive positive results.
To be a calm and happy small business owner, you must prioritize and pare down your daily to-do list, focus, learn how to say no, do less, and connect with your customers. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, take a break and get Zen. Go into your office, close the door, take some deep breaths, and just relax for a few minutes. Then you’ll be ready to run your business with a smile.