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Managing Your Stress: Advice for Small Business Owners

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If you’re a small business owner, you know that stress goes with the territory even when things are going well. As the person in charge with the biggest investment in the business, it’s your responsibility to keep looking ahead and anticipating problems before they arise because things can go from good to bad literally overnight.

Your company may be profitable, but what can you do to keep it profitable and competitive in the market?

How do you keep employees engaged and feeling empowered?

And what can you do to cover yourself if a sudden need for more capital arises unexpectedly?

When you’re a business owner managing a company of 10 employees or less, you bear so much responsibility and wear so many hats that that finding ways to manage stress becomes a matter of sheer survival. Consider the following tips as you maneuver in and out of one stressful day after another.


Managing finances is one of the biggest ongoing sources of stress for small business owners. Stay organized, budget carefully, and make sure you know where your money’s going every month. If your credit is in less than stellar condition, pay off any lingering debt to improve your credit score and make it easier should you need an infusion of new capital later on.

Mini breaks

During the course of a busy day, it’s often impossible to take 15 or 30 minutes away (not to mention a full lunch hour) to collect your thoughts and regroup. If that’s the case, take five to 10 minutes now and then just to get a drink of water or cup of coffee, grab an energizing snack or take a quick stroll to clear your mind. There’s a lot of weight on the person who makes all the tough decisions, which can be very hard to do when things get super hectic. Make a point of moving around or just stretching if you’ve been staring at a report for the past half-hour or are glued to your computer screen. Sometimes, just getting your blood flowing again can provide the boost you need.

Take it easy on yourself

Business owners have a tendency to demand perfection from themselves. That’s a brutal standard to set for yourself, and it can easily bleed over into relationships with employees and colleagues if you overdo it. And it can make you indecisive just when you have to make difficult decisions. Try to keep things as simple as possible by assessing pros and cons, benefits versus costs. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is give it a day or so (there’s nothing like a good night’s sleep) before deciding on a course of action.

Avoid driving yourself physically and mentally to the point of exhaustion.

As a business owner, you need to keep your mind clear and stay sharp. That’s tough to do if you’re returning emails at 2:30 in the morning or find yourself stuck in rush hour traffic from 6:30 to 8 p.m. every night. Make a point of setting personal boundaries by realizing you can only get so much done in any given day. Make sure you’re out of the office by 5:30 so you have time to spend with loved ones and recharge your mental/emotional batteries. Ask employees to text you after work hours so you can assess the importance of the matter. That way, you’re not constantly on the phone when you should be resting.

Don’t cheat yourself of sleep

Resist the temptation to work late and rise early, especially if it means you’re getting less than seven hours of sleep every night (it’s recommended that everyone get seven to nine hours of sleep). Ignoring the need for sleep won’t make a difficult problem any less difficult, and it may render you incapable of coping if you’re sleep deprived, which can become a serious health condition.

As a small business owner, you’re under enough stress.

Do as much as possible to make things easy on yourself by getting enough sleep, and not bringing work home if you don’t have to. Remember to take a deep breath and get up and move when the pressure is on during the day.

Guest Blogger: Julie Morris


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