“There just isn’t enough time to do it all!” I said, throwing down the haunting yellow legal pad representing my never ending to-do list. Trying to grown two fledging businesses while ushering in yet a new one had me running around like a chicken with its head cut off—how was I to get it all done? There simply weren’t enough hours in the day!
Regardless of what type of business you are launching, a start-up’s to-do-list is expansive, and that’s without accounting for the endless unexpected crises. Nothing goes as planned when you need it to most—the website won’t work, the credit card machine dies, expected financing doesn’t come through, licenses are denied, cost of supplies increase.
So, how can you minimize start-up stress while executing a successful launch? Here are seven tips to maintaining your sanity during the start-up phase:
Schedule daily “Me Time”
a. I like to run outside, walk my dog, and ride my horse. It’s important for my sanity that I maintain these activities, regardless of what may be going on at the battlefront. Make “me time” a priority, giving it as much importance as you may morning staff meetings, monthly sales reviews, and quarterly market research. While some may view my morning jobs as hindering my business performance, I know that one’s business can only be as good as they are.
With my current startup, I could spend 24 hours a day for the entire month working on it, and it still wouldn’t be perfect. This is something I’ve just had to accept. All businesses can afford to have a certain degree of imperfection in their operation. Accept that it’s okay to be imperfect, and stop setting impossible perfection as a standard.
Call in backup
Few businesses can be successful as a one-man show. Recognize your need for some help and don’t be afraid to call in backup. Spending your entire day answering the phone? Hire a receptionist. Exhausted after a day at the office, only to spend your evening tackling laundry? Hire a housekeeper. While you may not necessarily have room in your budget to finance addition hands, if you take the leap, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your business’ performance will improve once you’re back on your A-game.
Not all fires are worth putting out. Some are so small, that left unattended they will go out on their own. Learn how to prioritize your crises; you will not be an effective business owner if your life becomes consumed with reacting to every sign of smoke you see.
Stress is a sneaky bastard. Sometimes we don’t realize the effects long-term stress can have on our behavior. Recruit a trusted friend or family member to help monitor your cortisol levels as you kick start a new business. Discuss potential signs of burnout with them ahead of time, and request they notify you when they sense you’re on the verge of consequence.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your business won’t be either. Set goals and timelines that are realistic, accounting for the unexpected. As a business owner, it’s up to you to set your company up for success, not failure. Don’t set the bar so high that no one, including yourself, can reach it. Make sure your timelines provide some form of wiggle room, a few extra days (or weeks) allowing for the unexpected.
Sometimes, we just need a break. When I schedule a new business launch, I immediately schedule several weekend getaways where I leave my cell phone and laptop behind and hit the open road. Everyone needs a break in order to stay fresh. Indulge yourself with regular business banned vacations and you’re mental health will thank you.
Remember, your business can only be as good as you are. Incorporate these seven tips into your start-up execution and reap the benefits of a low stress launch!