As an entrepreneur, you are used to stress and the areas of your business that make you unsure of your future. When that stress starts to get out of control, it affects not only your business but your physical and emotional health. Unnecessary worries don’t need to be added to your day to day concerns. Learning to deal successfully with stress caused by being a small business owner and not dwelling on perfection takes strategies that you need to incorporate into your everyday life.
As a small business owner, you know which fears are normal and which are not. Anxiety over problems which may never arise can be dealt with in the same way as other worries in your life. Exercise has always been promoted as a great stress reliever. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time and you don’t need to go to a gym. Just getting out and walking every day can help.
While you are busy focusing on your concerns over your business, you aren’t thinking about other things or other people. A great way to fight this is to look outside of yourself. Try to concentrate on what is going on around you; other people, your pets, nature – anything other than what is going on inside your head. Irrationally focusing on what is going on with your business – and this includes the good things too, may be difficult but you need to keep your perspective on your problems.
Successfully combating business related stress means you have to look at the whole picture, not just the parts that aren’t working at the moment. It helps you to remember that some stress is actually good for you. It’s impossible to live a totally stress free life and just knowing that is a help to some business owners. Try to turn your negative thoughts around and look at them in a different way. Focus on what is working in your business and find a way to relate those processes to where you are having problems.
Realizing that entrepreneurship and unpredictability go hand in hand and that you have chosen this way of life will help you to feel less like a victim and more like you are the one in charge. It’s the loss of control that most of us fear and that causes the most stress. Accept responsibility for where you are in your business and find the tools that will help you to overcome stress related problems. Find the routines that work best for you and look at how much progress you have made so far.
Accepting the uncertainties of being a small business owner and realizing that stress will always be with you is one of the most important things entrepreneurs will ever learn. Dealing with it in a healthy way while remaining optimistic is a lesson that all of us need to learn.
© Chris Draper, DemGen Inc. 2014
image courtesy of the guardian
September is a time for reflection and re-birth.
It’s a time to take a deeper look at your business, partnerships, clients, revenues and operations…
If you’re happy about where you are currently, apply your successes to achieve even more!
If you are not satisfied about where your business stands currently, evaluate what’s holding you back and requires improvement.
How will you make the last few months of 2014 count to improving overall results and expectations for the year?
If you need support in reaching your goals or further defining your vision – it is never too late to strategize and visualize, I’m always available to discuss how the DemGen team can support you!
We figured it was the perfect opportunity to share more about the amazing things she is doing as an entrepreneur…
Please tell us more about your business.
I have two hats.
First, I am presently the CFO of Manatee Holdings Ltd. and am being groomed to take over the position of CEO in the future. Manatee is an aquaculture company pioneering sustainable ways to produce Geoduck clams and sea cucumbers in British Columbia.
My second role is helping executive business owners to transform both their lives and their businesses in ways that improve the quality of both by connecting them to their core purpose. You can find out more at www.theintegratedbusinessdoctor.com
These two roles fulfill my life purpose of being a passionate mentor and visionary businesswoman.
What inspired you to join or create these companies?
I met my husband in 2007 and I joined his company in 2008. Since joining Manatee, I have helped increased their revenue by over 200%. The family enterprise we have expanded upon since 2007 allows me to use my unique skill-set to oversee the relationship between the bottom line and the culture of the company
My work within the company as the CFO and auditor, combined with my mentoring capabilities to improve the quality of life of high-end executives has transformed the company my husband originally created. The same combination of capabilities is also helping us to parent our young son. It’s an inspiration to be able to bring perspective and insight into someone’s leadership style, while intuitively guiding them through the tough decisions they face as executive business owners. And at the same time help them remember the spirit and passion behind their day-to-day lives.
What common trends do you see with your clients (needs, position, inspiration, etc.)?
The average executive spends almost 2,000 hours each year at the office. In the old business strategies, the common trend was to focus on just pursuing money. We now realize there is a greater profit to be made across the entire spectrum of life if we ensure that we are also enjoying our work environment and making it a healthy and productive experience, both professionally and personally. I refer to this as Quality of Life Audit. We have seen in our own business not only an increase in revenue and productivity in the company, but more importantly a better wellbeing.
What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do?
The most rewarding thing about what I do is to be in what Strategic Coach calls my “Unique Ability.” This means to stay focused on my vision, to do only what I am best at, and what I enjoy the most, and to find ways to delegate everything else.
What are your greatest recent accomplishments?
I was ranked by PROFIT and Chatelaine magazines as one of Canada’s Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs in 2012 and in 2014.
In addition, I helped our company raise an additional $2.5 million in funding for our aquaculture operations.
How has working with DemGen benefited your business?
Working with DemGen allowed me to have a paradigm shift in terms of looking for alternatives to challenges that accomplish the vision both parties wanted as a result of our relationship.
How has ‘going virtual’ benefited your business?
It saves our companies thousands of dollars. In addition, it allows me to tap into resources with more leverage by being able to hire the best talents from the country where I was originally from which is the Philippines. Just recently, I saw an example of this when someone in North America without experience and just out of university who had an asking salary of $150,000.00 annually had her equivalent of someone from Asia who was better educated and working for $10,000 annually.
Did you have any initial reservations about ‘going virtual’? If so, what made you change your mind?
I didn’t have any reservations going virtual.
© DemGen Inc. 2014
Trait ascription bias: a tendency to describe one’s own behaviour in terms of situational factors while preferring to describe another’s behaviour by ascribing fixed dispositions to their personality.
Our behaviour tends to affect the way our business grows (or doesn’t grow). There are business owners who are pragmatic, based firmly in reality and while they do look at past business and future trends, they realize that what is going on day to day is what will affect the eventual outcome of their business.
While outside factors can and do have some effect on your business, it’s how you deal with them that will count. If you are unable to look at yourself realistically, whether it is your good traits or those which aren’t so good, this can have a negative effect on not just your business but those that work closely with you and even your customers. We all like to think we don’t have any major faults and when things go wrong in our business, we would like to look for any excuse outside of ourselves for things being the way they are.
We can sometimes be quick to point out the flaws in others that are causing a slowdown in their business but rarely do we see these same things in ourselves. We see the variables in our own personality but find those of our business competitors quite predictable. We feel we can handle a variety of situations with flexibility and if it doesn’t work out, it has to be because of something beyond our control. Ascribing traits to others for the same behaviour we show while laying the blame for the behaviour firmly on them is trait ascription bias and we are all guilty of doing this at one time or another but when it becomes a common thing and our business reflects this, then it’s time to reflect a little on why we are this way.
A good example is a business owner who angers easily, tends to take it out on their employees and at times their customers. While they call this a reasonable misunderstanding when it pertains to them, they consider it neurotic in other business owners and accuse them of a lack of discipline and not trying to co-operate. There is always a reason for one’s own behaviour that is quite understandable but in someone else they are accused of deep rooted personality traits.
Being aware of your own flaws is much more important than jumping to conclusions over the idiosyncrasies of others. Allowing your behaviour to affect your business while maintaining the outlook that nothing is your fault can mean the downfall of your business.
© Chris Draper, DemGen Inc. 2014
Business owners are always hearing about that one business that got the great account, was the first to offer a product that became very popular or because of their great service is talked about a lot and therefore attracting new customers.
What did they do that you didn’t? What does their business have that yours doesn’t? Usually, it isn’t that they did something completely different or had something that your business didn’t have. These business owners took advantage of an opportunity or created one for themselves. They had been in business a long time but didn’t give in to the belief that it was too late for them, that their business was what it was and things weren’t going to change.
Opportunities for your business are everywhere, you just have to be aware of what is going on around you. You also have to realize that your business, regardless of what it is, has an impact on your customers. Just because the ideas you have are small and your business is small doesn’t mean it isn’t important to others as well as yourself. Understand the impact your business has, look at how other business owners are taking advantage of opportunities and turn these same opportunities into growth for your business, not by copying, but by borrowing the ideas and turning them into something that is a great fit for you and your products.
Competition is actually good for your business as it makes you stop and think of how you can improve what you offer so that what you have is better than what is out there. It gives you a push to want to succeed more and better yourself and your business. It makes you stop and think of how your business is going to grow with the trends so it will still be viable in the future. Decide that you will no longer ignore what is right under your business nose, grasp what is available and if you need to learn new skills to do that, then learn them.
It’s never too late to make great things happen. Just think, Harlan Sanders, the Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, was 66 when he began to promote his style of cooking and create an empire. There’s still room for more great ideas.
© Chris Draper, DemGen Inc. 2014
image credit ithinkyoushould
The nature of business is such that it tends to have its ups and downs. Small business owners know this better than anyone, yet piled on top of their economic concerns are other worries that need to be put aside. It’s bad enough that you are worrying about the future of your business without focusing unnecessarily on unimportant issues.
What others think you should be doing
While others talk of innovation and originality, due to social media and the more public way we now live our lives, there are also those who feel they should be able to tell us what to do with our lives. Only you know what’s going to work best for your business and your style of living and you don’t want to be like everyone else, do you? Try to ignore the opinions of others, for the meaning of opine is to “hold and state as one’s opinion” and you have one of your own.
Your future success (or failure)
Focusing too much on how things may turn out can lead you in the wrong direction, especially if you are a worrier and tend to see the worst in any situation. Paying attention to the little things as they come along can help you avoid the larger pitfalls that can bring down any business. Optimism is always better than pessimism under any circumstances.
Following a plan
Business owners are always advised to have a good business plan in place when they start their business but your business is growing now. It’s time to branch out and try some new ideas. As you change, your business will change also and sticking to that original plan may not work for you in a changing economy where customers are a lot more careful what they purchase and who they purchase from. Make your business revolve around satisfying your customers while also ensuring success for yourself.
Being the best at everything
No one is good at everything and only you know what you’re really good at. Leave the rest to someone else. Hire that virtual assistant or team and put the rest of the stuff in their hands. This ties right in with worrying about your future success, because if you don’t hire the best, you won’t get the best results. Doesn’t your business deserve the best chance at success?
© Chris Draper, DemGen Inc. 2014
image courtesy of business2community