Fri 4 Sep 2009
Regardless of your industry, stress has the potential to negatively impact your company's bottom line. In difficult economic times, financial stress can take an especially powerful toll on small business owners. Because small businesses employ a large majority of Americans, they are at-risk for the repercussions of stress. Here are some tips and techniques to avoid becoming overwhelmed by stress and adversity in the ongoing economic recession:
Stay Calm. Panic and fear only magnify the effects of financial stress in the workplace. It's important not to become overwhelmed by macroeconomics. Avoid spending hours stressing over the latest financials, statistics and projections for your industry. Instead, focus on the dynamics within the walls of your business. Brainstorm ways to generate repeat business or partner with other companies in your neighborhood. Perform research on grant and stimulus funding that is available to small businesses instead. By focusing on the "microeconomics" of your business, you can stay calm and productive.
Make a Contingency Plan. One way to manage stress is by having a rock-solid backup plan in place. This might mean planning for layoffs and other major cuts, such as benefit packages and incentive programs. Draft a plan that is viable and implementable at a moment's notice. This will lessen the amount of work necessary in the face of adversity.
Establish a Sphere of Influence. Certain things are simply out of your control. You cannot control with the markets do, how other companies perform, or the strength of the American dollar. Focus on other factors that are inside your sphere of influence. For example, look for ways to cut costs and reduce overhead. By being productive and focusing on what you can control, you alleviate the stress regarding dynamics outside of your reach.
Don't Abuse Substances. Under stress, business owners may be tempted to engage in destructive behavior like drinking alcohol, smoking, gambling or eating excessively. These are negative coping mechanisms that must be avoided at all costs. Look for more positive ways to channel your energy, such as exercise or spending quality time with family or friends.
Regardless of the economy's volatility, it is important to manage stress effectively as a business owner. Use these tips to alleviate stress to ensure that your business - and your health - have the best chance of performing at optimal levels.