5 Tips to Reduce Financial Stress as a Business Owner
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By Bromwich+Smith Staff |1058 words | Reading Time: 5 minutes and 17 seconds | Date: 2023/03/31
We know that over the past three years, small businesses have been put through the wringer. We have seen way too many small businesses not be able to stay afloat on top of pandemic regulations, staff shortages, mandatory lockdowns etc. While many Canadians struggled throughout these years some of the hardest hit where are small businesses. Imagine your only source of income being forced to shut down with no indication of when you might be able to reopen your doors. Pair that with meeting to provide for your family all well homeschooling your children and trying to manage your household bills, and debts while not knowing when you will have an income again.
17% of small business owners said that “the collapse of my small business” would cause them fear. Fear causes stress and can take a toll on all aspects of your life and business. Here are five things you can do to reduce fear and stress in your small business.
#5 Start at the beginning, and track what you do. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and feel like you need to do more for your family and your small business and that often feels like having to save more or sell more. If you don’t know what your baseline looks like, it canbe hard to know if you are making progress. When you track progress you can clearly see you wins and celebrate them- and we should all be celebrating the wins! Tracking also let’s you see any shortfall in your budget. If you have a starting point on knowing how much money your business is bringing in and what the costs are you will be able to adjust where needed. If the cost of your supplies go up you may need to consider increasing your prices to maintain a profit. Tracking will also help you ensure nothing is missed, as it can be tricky to navigate personal expenses and bills and business ones. You don’t want to forget to pay a bill because you thought you had already paid it! Making right decisions and choices with your spending will help you to grow your business.
#4 Create an Emergency Plan. Part of the stress of a business owner is not being prepared for surprises like a rent increase, supply chain and shipping delays, or stock shortages. These things cannot be predicted or avoided and generally turn in to high stress, urgent situations. Knowing you have an emergency fund and an emergency plan will help alleviate some of the stress that comes along with an unexpected expense. Some emergencies are beyond anyone’s emergency fund and that’s where a plan of action becomes your security net. Examine what your worst case scenarios are and plan for them. It may include looking for alternative vendors and putting aside extra money for higher supplies fees, having a 3 month emergency fund for bills, or having a backup plan if you are unable to work. With the recent years pandemic and business closures, its safe to say that we are all more willing to expect the unexpected and put a plan in place for it!
#3 Put Business Systems in Place. Nothing beats the personal touch, however, if you must touch everything in order for it to be done, you may be overextending yourself. One individual only has so many hours in a day, so much physical, mental and emotional strength. Stress will creep in very quickly, especially as you start to grow your business. Putting systems and processes in place that allow you to take breaks, to have certain business functions take place with or without you is the key to growth and to stress relief. Are you able to outsource part of the work, or is there anything that can be automated like email replies, phone messages or client communications? ChatGP and AI is the latest in technology now- but keep an eye out on the up and coming trends as they may be able to help make some of your time consuming tasks less encumber some. Systems will set you free as a business owner – stress free!
#2 Take time for you. We know that may be easier said than done! Many small business owners are wearing many hats in their business and may be working an additional job to increase income while they are less profitable than they would like to be. Small business owners typically find themselves working more than 40 hours a week, and the stress can take its toll. Avoid burn out in your business and personal lives by taking the time for you. This could be blocking an hour in your calendar for step away from work and take your lunch break. It could be a walk at night, or a monthly spa day. Everyone has their ideal down time, so find something that will help you relax away from your business. Self care relieves stress and brings more creativity and productiveness.
#1 Seek professional help when needed. As a small business owner, you’re accustom to wearing various hats; HR, Marketing, Customer Service and more. It can be challenging to ask for help or bring in other professionals. Do not see it as a fail to need someones assistance. Consider yourself a professional in your industry, and how flattered you are when someone seeks out your opinion. The most successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with a team of professionals so each can focus on their areas of strength and you can focus on your business. You can take business courses, join mastermind groups, seek out a Financial Planner who specializes in small business. By finding the right team, you may be surprised at how quickly you can grow your business. You may be spending more time than needed to figure out advertising regulations- a marketing professional already knows the ins and outs. Maybe you are struggling keeping the right staff, and an HR consultant can help find the candidates with the skillset you need.
If you find that your business debt is escalating, and profits are diminishing it is time to expand your team and reach out to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. Seek out your options, take time to make an informed decision to take your business to the next level, and avoid any additional business debt.