For the small business owner and sole-entrepreneur protecting your primary business asset should be a top priority. After all, without this asset, there is a very big risk to the success of your business.
Of course the asset I’m talking about is you!
You are the one thing your business cannot do without. You are the driving force behind keeping your business running and profitable, therefore, this asset must be keep in excellent working condition at all costs.
But let’s be clear, I’m not talking about “protection” in the form of insurance; I’m talking about taking care of “you”!
One thing I am seeing more and more of lately is business owners who are working harder and longer than ever before. Whether it’s striving to grow their business or fighting to keep revenue up, business owners are putting in more hours every day and more effort to get what they want.
So, I have to ask: What’s the cost?
It could be a lot more than you think if you are not taking the time to take care of yourself. If you burnout, get sick and wind up in the hospital for even a short period of time, what effect will that have on your business? Missed opportunities, lost sales and a substantial decrease in revenue (and profit) instantly come to mind.
The Warning Signs
Here are some of (but not all of) the warning signs that will let you know you are on the path to neglecting your most important business asset:
- You are not taking enough time to eat properly
- You skip and/or avoid exercise
- You constantly feel stressed and under pressure
- You’re exhausted all the time
- You feel like you get nothing accomplished
- You doubt your capabilities
- You over-react to things that wouldn’t normally bother you
- You neglect to follow-through on important tasks
Take Action to Mitigate the Risk
The absolute best way to lessen the risk to your business is to first accept that you are on the burnout path.
If you have problems relating to this, play out the scenario that you’ve become ill today and can’t work (at all) for the next 3 weeks. Start by opening your calendar and crossing of everything you have planned (again, for the next 3 weeks) and then determine how much revenue and profit will be lost during this period. My guess is this will be an eye opening exercise for you.
Once you’ve accepted there’s room for improvement, take action.
Start by scheduling time in your calendar each day for you. Just the act of putting yourself first, before your business, will help bring more clarity into your life. Now, the best way to jumpstart your anti-burnout campaign is through physical activity.
No, you don’t have to join a gym (or go back to the gym) or take aerobics. Walking is a great form of zero-cost exercise. Plan on starting everyday with a 10 to 15 minute walk (including over the weekend). Get outside, clear your head, observe nature and walk briskly; you’ll find you become more focused and start to feel better right away.
Next, eat food which is better for you more often. Not eating regular meals and good food is a surefire way to get sick and cloud your mind. Face it, when you eat better you feel better. In addition, if you’re a caffeine addict, cut out just one cup of coffee and notice you can still make it through the day.
Last, use your calendar wisely. Although it may seem more time consuming upfront, schedule everything into your calendar (especially time for you!) including office work, returning phone calls, time for filing and time to read and respond to email.
By using your calendar as a proactive scheduling tool, your days will be more organized and run more efficiently. In addition, your stress level will go down, you won’t forget important tasks and your overall productivity will go up.
Do it Now!
Waiting isn’t going make it better, so start today. And, if these simple steps still seem overwhelming, then get some external help. Better Organization and Time Management can almost immediately change your life for the better and get you on track to “protecting your primary business asset”.
I leave you with this from one of the most successful business people of today:
“If you neglect to recharge a battery, it dies.
And if you run full-speed ahead without stopping for water,
you lose momentum to finish the race.”
~ Oprah Winfrey ~