How stress is damaging your business

Stress has a funny way of creeping up on us. Being your own boss can prove to be exciting and challenging, and, at times, very stressful. Running a small business means handling a variety of situations - from some situations that you feel confident handling and others that can seem daunting.

Stress can come in many forms, and it can affect you and your business in different ways such as your ability to run it, impact your family or employees or even customers and suppliers.

Let’s begin with how financial stress can impact your business, and ways you can fight it.

Financial stress

Financial stress takes the focus away from ‘doing business’. It can force you to spend more time on certain tasks over others, which can harm productivity in other areas of your business.

Financial stress can arise from an array of circumstances, including:

1. Poor cash flow management - whether this is due to not having forecasted your cash flow for the year, having a set and forget cash flow strategy or even not having one at all. 

2. Dramatic cash flow changes - a dip in sales or an unexpected event that has had a large effect on your finances. 

3. An increase of debt - whether this is from moving to new premises, needing a financial boost to increase cash flow or needing new equipment/staff to meet demand.

Tips to help handle financial stress

1. Map out your business plan - have a clear plan for how your business will run. Understanding your financial needs in line with your business plan will help you know when it’s time to seek finance and how to approach these situations. 

2. Organise and schedule your finances - create a list of your expenses, ensuring you prioritise them accordingly. Keeping your financial records in order also makes it easier to manage your money. 

3. Keep personal and business finances separate - in times of financial stress, reaching into your personal savings can seem like a good idea to help out the business. However, it’s always a good idea to keep these finances separate, or at the very least keep an up to date, detailed record of when you’re using personal money for your business. 

4. Get an expert on your side - when it comes to your finances, speaking to your local Mortgage Choice broker can help plan out your finance and risk.

While financial stress can take a toll on your small business, let’s not forget how personal stress can also affect productivity. 

Personal stress

Whether you’re a sole trader or employing small business owner, there’s a lot to do when managing a small business, which can mean a lot of pressure.

As tempting as it can be to focus solely on your business, your personal health and wellbeing is just as important when running a productive and successful small business.

You could find yourself stressed due to a variety of situations, including:

1. Putting in long working hours - not having defined work hours or putting in long working days where you can’t switch off from work mode.

2. Feeling isolated or alone - not having someone else there to support you in your business and with whom to share your concerns.

3. Managing multiple roles - running all areas of your business, including the ones you are comfortable with as well as the other areas where you might be lacking confidence.

Tips to help handle personal stress (within your business)

1. Re-evaluate workloads - whether this means finding methods to outsource some processes or tasks, simply prioritising or getting an outsider perspective.

2. Make time for wellness - this could include a wellness or fitness program, scheduling time to go for a walk, changing up your work schedule, etc.

3. Listen to the warning signs - try to identify if you or your employees behaviours have changed. This could be anything from finding it harder to concentrate, feeling sensitive, avoiding certain tasks, etc. If you’ve noticed a change in behaviour, it could be worth setting time aside to discuss mental health, have a professional come in to talk about workplace strategies, plan an outing, etc.

4. Get support - if you’re feeling like stress is getting in the way of your personal well being, it could be worthwhile chatting to your GP. They can suggest stress management strategies tailored to you.

As a small business owner, it is crucial to understand how stress can have on you and your business’ well being. 

With so many finance providers offering different finance types, with varying structures and repayment options, it can be difficult to find the one that’s best for your business.

It pays to seek independent advice before you make your choice, and this is where your Mortgage Choice broker can help.

Find your local expert


Posted in: Small business