Running your own business can be a stressful affair. But there are ways in which you can help yourself stay in control.
Do you sometimes wonder why you ever started up your own business?
Governments of all persuasions have for many years been promoting the UK as a business-friendly environment full of entrepreneurs like you, who are eager to respond to customer requirements in a competitive manner.
But the reality is that running a business can be a lonely experience, and it’s easy to feel as if everything is getting on top of you.
The following five tips should help you to run your business more efficiently, and prevent you from getting too stressed out:
Choose your partners carefully
Look at both your customers and suppliers as business partners, who are there to help you provide high-quality services or products and prosper. Try and work with people who have similar values to yourself, and take time to get to know them.
Maintain good communications, and raise concerns or difficulties with them as soon as a problem becomes apparent. We have all been guilty of burying our heads in the sand at some point in our lives, but doing this increases the stress levels and stores up trouble for later.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
How many instances have we invested a great deal of time, effort and money to secure that big contract, the one that means you can deem yourself a “success”? Success can mean different things to different people, but the businesses that tend to prosper are often those that undertake several small, mundane steps in a consistent manner. So don’t neglect these steps by focusing solely on
that big contract. Remember, too, that is not uncommon for bigger organisations to have somewhat punitive payment terms.
Get rid of poor paying customers
Around 80 per cent of excess work and hassle will be created by 20 per cent of customers. These are the ones who constantly look for reasons not to pay you the full amount, or who leave payment until the last possible moment. Culling these will make you feel a lot less stressed, and the extra time will enable you to find better customers.
Hire slow, fire fast
We have all been in a position where we have had to turn down business or let down a customer because we did not have the resources in place. To overcome this, it
can be tempting to hire new people and to recruit anyone who vaguely fits the bill.
Don’t do this. If your initial attempt at recruitment is not successful, it is much better to advertise again than to compromise. Change some of the job specifications if necessary, to ensure you get the right person.
If you are unfortunate enough to take the wrong person on, then you need to get rid of them fast. Naturally this has to be done ethically and within the current employment law. But it serves neither you nor them if they are not suited to your organisation. Working with uncooperative people who are not on the same wavelength can be stressful.
Stay in control of costs
Most business fields are pretty competitive, and often the cost of maintaining stock rises while the end-price is determined by the market, resulting in a decrease in overall profits.
Look carefully at your inventory. Are you tying up resources that are not profitable? Are you still getting the best deal on your gas and electricity? Avoid locking yourself into a fixed contract that has stringent exit terms, or that appears good value at the beginning but then locks you into a higher tariff at the end.
Jackie Cummins is founder and business success coach at J21 Coaching. See j21coaching.com
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