Let me paint you a picture. As a business owner you feel overwhelmed on a day-to-day basis. Stress is constant, crises are everywhere, and no one seems to be able to get on with the job without you. There are so many important things you’d like to get around to, but you get to the end of every day with just as many loose ends as you started.
And to top it off, your health is suffering, your kids wonder who that strange person is that walks in and out of the house sometimes, and when you took a holiday last year, you were forever looking for mobile phone reception to keep the business afloat.
Recognize that picture at all?
Nobody ‘gets it’
What makes it all even harder is the sense that nobody ‘gets it’. When you try to explain your life to someone who doesn’t run their own business, chances are their eyes will glaze over before you’ve even finished the first sentence.
The feeling of isolation and being alone adds to the consistent feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed, and will often cost the business owner dearly, both personally and professionally.
Yet as business owners we just ‘soldier on’, don’t we, because we don’t know what else to do; nobody else is going to do it for us and we can often feel trapped.
So, what can you do to get out of this trap and start to build a business that’s fun and that sustains you for years to come?
As a business coach working with small business owners, I often ask my clients what they believe are the most valuable resources of their business. The most frequent responses I get are: my staff, my customers, my relationships, my bank balance. And while those are all, of course, very valuable, there are two things that are more valuable than all of the others put together: your time, and your health.
Think about it; all other resources you can hire, buy or borrow more of. Your health and your time are the only truly limited resources in your business, and what’s more, the business can’t develop and grow without an ample supply of your focused time and if you are not in optimum health.
So, take a deep breath and ask yourself: isn’t it time to treat those two key resources with the respect they deserve? Isn’t it about time to start to look after yourself and acknowledge that you just can’t do it all on your own?
Because the good news is this: you don’t have to do it all alone; there are other people out there who ‘get it’. Honestly. These people are called fellow business owners, and getting involved with fellow business owners may be one of the most effective things you can do to lower your stress – and build your business.
Getting involved with other people in business is one of the most effective ways to look after yourself.
The benefits are well documented and include:
1. Support and feedback from others who do get it and have probably ‘been there, done that’
2. Opportunities for business growth through word of mouth and networking
3. Shared knowledge and access to experts
4. Building relationships and alliances for future business development
Here are some options for getting involved:
1. Join your local MFAA, socials, network meetings, trainings and other gatherings
2. Join your local or state Chamber of Commerce and get involved
3. Become a member of the Business Enterprise Centres and attend their functions and workshops
4. Investigate Meetup groups (meetup.com); there are so many of these groups, some really active and some less so ... just go and try some out
5. Search in Google for networking groups and networking meetings
6. Join a business referral group and get involved
7. Join an advisory board program, or instigate your own advisory board made up of fellow business owners
Surrounding yourself with like-minded people will reduce your stress levels and be one of the best business decisions you ever make … I promise you. So go on … get out there!
This is a slightly amended version of an article written by Roland Hanekroot, a highly experienced business coach and author of The Ten Truths books for business owners. It has been shortened to make it suitable for web publishing.