Entrepreneurship comes with its fair share of perks — the freedom to create your own schedule, call the shots and be in charge of your own destiny is enough to make any cubicle worker drool. But it’s no secret that being a small business owner also has some heavy duty pressure; at the end of the day, you have ultimate accountability for your business’ success or failure.
Stressful? It can be.
But while there’s no cure-all for stress as a business owner, there are a few things you can do to ‘keep calm and entrepreneur on.’
Be flexible with your business plan.
Embrace that the first few drafts of your business plan will be wrong, no matter what. There are bound to be details you didn’t think of, or maybe your sales strategy just isn’t working the first time around. That’s okay! Once you’ve gathered enough data, you’ll be able to validate and/or rewrite the plan to better reroute your course.
Outsource tasks you aren’t good at or don’t like doing.
Wearing many hats is inescapable as a business owner. While you may have to be chief cook or bottle washer for a short time, get tasks that suck up your time and energy (i.e. bookkeeping) off your plate. You need to be able to focus on growing your business using your natural gifts, and find competent support to make sure the rest is covered.
Get an accountability coach.
In the early stages of business, it’s all about execution. Once you have your plan, you need to set clear activities and tasks that will maintain your forward progress. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so find a mentor or coach who will serve as your accountability partner and keep you on track.
Take care of your physical needs.
Remember the basics — sleep, eat and exercise. You need to give your body and brain nourishment and time to rejuvenate and recharge, especially after a long day’s work. Running yourself down only means you’re performing under par, which doesn’t do you or your business any good.
Never stop learning.
Take time to study the latest news on issues that will help you grow your business or develop your leadership skills. Read a book, go to a seminar or join a peer group (check out your local chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization). Continuing education is usually the first thing to go when you’re swamped, but it may pay the biggest dividends in the long run.
David Nilssen is the CEO & Co-Founder of Guidant Financial. Read more tips about becoming a successful entrepreneur in his book, Making the Jump into Small Business Ownership. He can be found on Twitter at @DavidNilssen.