Being a business owner is an incredibly rewarding experience, but there’s no denying the cost. So many business owners struggle to separate their business from their personal lives and identity—the weight of nurturing your idea, taking financial and reputational risks, and the long hours.
All entrepreneurs, business owners, and CEOs need tools available to help them scale their businesses while keeping their stress and personal lives intact. So we’ve compiled this list of top (and simple) ways to balance growth sustainably.
Have a Clearly Defined Schedule
One simple way to maintain a work-life balance is to define and maintain a precise schedule. This will include prep time, work time, meetings, and rest time. Of course, you don’t have to do every activity every day– you can set a weekly schedule if that works better for you. For example, try setting certain days aside for meetings and other days for solo work.
Another fundamental scheduling problem is keeping time-sucking tasks contained. Email is a top culprit, with most people checking their email 11 times per hour and taking up 28% of the workday. And interruptions take 25 minutes on average to recover from! So instead of leaving your email open on your browser, check your email first thing in the morning, around lunch, and before leaving work.
Prioritize Tasks and Stick with It
Procrastination is a common symptom of stress and fatigue. We often fill our time with small, unimportant tasks to help us deal with the pressure of the stressful or difficult ones. Prioritizing a task list and working from the most to least essential duties enables you to maintain momentum and take pride in your work.
Try starting your workday with your most challenging task when you’re refreshed and have energy. It can be tempting to start with a handful of small, easy tasks, but beware. It’s easy to slowly wear down your stamina with nonessential work– leaving you without the energy for critical tasks.
Outsource Tasks: Recognize When and Who
It’s essential to recognize the signs of when and where you need help. For example, startups usually have the founder working around the clock, doing jobs that aren’t their specialty. So while the early stages stereotypically require the most hats, CEOs feel the strain anytime there are periods of major growth.
Outsourcing tasks can include hiring a third party to handle customer service, using freelancers to help pick up additional work at a lower cost, or getting a consultant to help you focus your resources. The better you can see the signs of outsourcing, the less stressed you will be.
Get the Right Business Systems
Many business owners spend too much time doing simple tasks that can be automated or expedited at a low cost. Some top areas to speed up include:
- Financial services, including bill pay, invoicing and reporting.
- Marketing distribution, like automatically sending email content to your entire subscriber list.
- Project management software keeps communication, deadlines, and progress smooth and easy.
- CRM software that increases customer satisfaction and overall revenue.
- Customer service add-ons, like AI bot services, help customers with common questions or after-hours problems.
Take regular time to review your systems and check which products will best fit your needs and price range. While top performers may come with a big price tag, new options are constantly emerging that can relieve stress now.
Protect Time Off
While more than half of Americans don’t use all of their awarded PTO, entrepreneurs and CEOs may find it even harder to take time off. When you’re overseeing growth or covering multiple positions yourself, it may seem like leaving work for a few days is too high a sacrifice.
However, studies show that six weeks is the optimal amount of vacation time to take off each year. While six weeks may not be realistic for many business owners, the research shows severe consequences of working long hours without significant time off. Burnout decreased physical and mental health, and losing sight of the big picture are risks your business can’t afford.
Seeking perfection may seem like a worthwhile goal, but it is often associated with fear rather than confidence and skill. Obsessing with doing everything just right fuels insecurity, inaction, and irritation– grit that slowly wears down the gears of your company.
As the saying goes, “done is better than perfect.” So work with a trusted team to help you measure accurate deliverables, real deadlines, and regular opportunities to evaluate growth opportunities. It’s also a great idea to stay current with industry trends, standards, and competitors. Your competitors will help show you what to expect from future development and what really matters to your clients.
Stay in Tune with Signs of Stress
Simply put, if you don’t know the signs of trouble, you can’t prevent or address them. As the leader of your company, you need to be aware of your stress signals and your company’s.
Some early signs of company stress include:
- High employee turnover, dissatisfaction, and absenteeism.
- Decreasing levels of customer satisfaction or reviews.
- Frequently missing deadlines.
It’s harder to pinpoint stress signals in CEOs and business owners– you know yourself best. But some common signs to look out for are:
- Dreading going to work.
- Regularly missing important family events due to work conflicts.
- Feeling like you never have time to get caught up, let alone ahead.
Take time to note your tell-tale stress signs, and work with your team to address them quickly as best you can.
Take Time to Notice What’s Working
Finally, it’s essential to notice what’s working well for your company continuously. Unfortunately, many business owners and entrepreneurs can get caught in the trap of constant diagnosis.
- Are we meeting sales targets?
- Are we keeping up with our competitors?
- Are our marketing efforts reaching and connecting with our target demographic?
While these questions are essential for business growth, it’s also an easy way to lose yourself in problem-solving. And a company culture focused exclusively on optimization often finds they are pursuing sustainable growth at the cost of company morale. On the other hand, company culture dramatically benefits from regular recognition of great work and a sense that things are going well.
Ready for Growth?
Managing business growth and your personal life is challenging, especially when you already feel strapped on time and resources. So how do you know when it’s time to make a change, and what habits or resources will make the biggest impact now? That’s where we come in.
Think of us as a third-party partner committed to supporting you from start to finish. That includes discovery, implementing changes, and sticking around to see your business recover. And we’ll still be there in a year or two to help you adapt to new needs and growth!
Contact us today for a consultation!
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