Worry is at the root of a good percentage of the stress that business people face. By addressing those worries it’s possible to build plans that deal with worry head on. This article puts the spotlight on managing stress – the actions you can take to feel in control.

Managing stress

Quick takeaways if you’re in a hurry

– Worries can cause stress, by listing out worries it’s possible to address them and put action plans in place that stop stress from taking hold
– Financial worries can be helped with careful planning, and some good future proofing
– Robust strategic and financial plans provide a context to any worries and ensure that they are a business priority.

Read on: Managing stress for better business

(estimated reading time: 7 minutes)

If you’ve ever found yourself struggling with the worry of running a business, then you’re probably well acquainted with stress. It’s not just stressful, it’s also easy for anxiety to run out of control and make it challenging to succeed in a role.

A little dose of stress can provide the fire needed to deliver and achieve goals, a large amount of stress can result in burn-out. So what’s the trick to managing the balance of running a business without losing control?

Be upfront in addressing worries

Worry and stress go hand in hand. A useful exercise for anyone who’s finding themselves overwhelmed with the worry of doing business is to write those worries down. It should then be possible to review the list and be clear on what is worth worrying about and what is not. If something is a valid cause for concern it can be converted into action.

It’s not uncommon for past problems to be a source of stress, even if they are no longer impacting the business. Countering negative thoughts about what has happened previously with positive thoughts about the important learnings that have been received is a good way to quash this worry.

Understanding the validity of worries requires a robust business and financial plan so that the priorities of the business are clear. With defined priorities it’s possible to review worries within this context and understand if they have the potential to impact business goals. If they don’t then they might need to be parked while more important things are dealt with.

Worries that relate to finance

Financial issues that are causing worry should be carefully reviewed. If there is a threat to the business it’s wise to seek external input. Business owners could canvas feedback on potential solutions from their business mentor and also consult with their main lender or financial adviser.

Where stress is linked to cash flow, it’s always possible to contact a Fifo Capital Business Partner. Business Partners have years of experience helping businesses get through their cash flow problems with smart solutions. They work in partnership with companies to help them resolve their funding worries.

Some sources of worry are outside a business’s control. Changes in the funding position of the bank; customers who are unable to pay their bills: situations such as these can create a cash flow emergency and are often the cause of ongoing worry. The good news is that Fifo Capital offers the ability to set up a finance standby facility, meaning businesses can prepare themselves for ‘what if’ and manage some of the worry of maintaining a healthy cash flow position.

Worrying about time

Being in control creates a feeling of well-being and conversely losing control often leads to feelings of stress. That’s probably why business people feel calmer when their working environment is organised and their filing is working at top efficiency.

Stress attacks control. The office becomes messy, the filing never gets done, and there’s an ongoing feeling that there are never enough hours in the day. No surprise that working hours increase, weekends become two more workdays, and the stress levels increase further. That’s when some smart time management tools can make a big difference.

One of the biggest challenges is that as stress levels increase it becomes more and more difficult to be productive. Productivity needs a refreshed mind that has enjoyed time switched off from the issues of business. This in combination with clear plans and the ability to focus on delivering them, leads to good productivity (see our blog: productivity blog). Stress undermines all of this.

Worry can often be rooted in being short of time and big on tasks to get done. It’s possible to get ahead of this concern by tightly managing a to-do list and adopting some smart scheduling tricks. Scheduling ensures that progress through tasks is apparent: this has a can have a huge positive impact on stress levels. There are details on both of these techniques in our blog [insert to-do list blog].

Development or external worries

All worries need to be carefully reviewed to see if they should be given attention. If a worry warrants further investigation then business owners can create an action plan with clear deliverables that will allow them to address the concern. The aim should be to address or neutralise the issue.

An example of this would be if a business were concerned about a new entrant coming into the market. It could be possible to explore some scenarios to work out how they could react if a new entrant did arrive.

These scenarios may lead them to identify a need to build a customer loyalty plan, or diversify their product line. The important thing is that they would create a plan and implement actions to protect their position. Having those actions in place would move them from a position of worrying about a change to being prepared for it.

Time management techniques allow business owners to take control of actions that need to be undertaken to protect and grow their business. Reviewed in the context of business and financial plans these actions can be confirmed as driving towards the future goals of the company. This also ensures that resources are not being misdirected due to minor worries that may never materialise.

Worry is at the root of a lot of stress and can easily flourish in a company if action is not taken to deal with it. Writing out all the worries that occupy a business owner allows them to be addressed and dealt with before stress becomes a negative impact on productivity and progress. Building a context to any concerns in a robust business plan ensures that the business continues to focus on its strategic and financial goals.

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