Becoming overwhelmed when starting your own business is easy to do. You have dreamed about becoming your own boss and decided to try to become an entrepreneur. Then, after your business starts you are working long hours and days trying to grow your business to make a profit. You’re exhausted by the end of the week. You feel you’ve barely made a dent towards all you want to accomplish.
What happened to that picture-perfect life where you are running a smooth business from your beach house? What happened to having enough time to spend with the people you love and enjoying life before retirement age? Michael Gerber referred to this as the Myth of The Entrepreneur in his famous book, The E-Myth.
In the book Michael gives a great story about Sarah. Everyone told her she would be crazy not to open a pie shop because her pies were amazing. So, she decided to do just that. She quit her day job that she didn’t like and opened a pie shop. Then, she realized after three years that baking pies was just a fraction of her daily tasks. Instead of spending her day experimenting with new flavors of pies, she wakes up at 3 a.m. every day to open her shop, bake the pies, take care of customers, close the shop, go to the bank, buy groceries and supplies, and then starts getting pies ready for the next day. Sarah was beaten down by the end of the day. She didn’t have enough energy to do anything.
What Sarah was doing was working in her business, when she should have been working onher business. You might be thinking that’s all good, but how do I start? When you have so many hats to wear every day and spend time putting out fires it’s hard to catch your breath, let alone think about growing your business.
There are several strategies which can help you not feel overwhelmed, such as:
Create Systems and Processes
Having systems and processes in place is the only way you can transition from a hands-on owner involved in the day-to-day operations to a business owner/leader who sets the direction of how his/her business will operate. Utilizing technology is a big part of building this system. With SaaS technology it has never been cheaper to run your business.
Creating systems and processes is not a fun thing to do for most people, but it’s the base of any successful business. You want to spend your time helping your customers, but without these systems in place, you can’t do so. One of the reasons people get into franchising is because the systems and processes are already built. Someone already did the hard part figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
Make a List
Write down all the tasks that you perform every day. This could be opening the store, taking customer appointments, doing payroll, and ordering supplies. As a business owner, we take for granted that some tasks come as second nature to us. Consider what happens if you took tomorrow off, would everyone know what to do? What comes easy to you might not for your team.
Outline the steps that you need to take for every task. What time do you need to open the store? What equipment needs to be turned on first? Do you need to put out signs before your customers come into the store? What steps are necessary for customer returns? What steps do you take to ensure they are refunded their money? Where do you place the returned merchandise? Who is responsible for processing the returned item?
Analyze Your List
Once you have written your list and outlined your steps, you should analyze each task. Could you automate, delegate, or outsource the task? If your staff is still writing down their hours on a piece a paper, or they text it to your office manager, automate it by getting a time attendance and management software, such as ezClocker.
When you are on a tight budget it might be hard to spend money on new software or hardware, but there are plenty of applications out on the market for free that you can utilize. Take these necessary steps so you won’t feel overwhelmed with your business.
Furthermore, when writing down all the steps for each task you do, you are creating processes. You can organize these and create a binder with each process for the person who is responsible.
Delegate and Trust in Your Employees
For other tasks in your business, can you delegate some of the work to your employees? Can you outsource tasks like payroll or marketing? Trust your employees or leaders you have hired, and they can help you stop feeling overwhelmed. Let them help you complete your tasks. Ensure they know your expectations, policies, and what you want to accomplish. If they make a mistake, lead them to the right direction.
Create an employee handbook for policies such as attendance, vacation, ethics, employee badges, and holidays and vacation benefits. Ensure a new hire knows where to park, the dress code, your expectations, and etc. for their first day. They should know your training agenda and what type of training they will receive. If an employee shows up thirty minutes late, is it okay if they work 30 minutes later to make up the time?
Ensure your employee handbook is detailed and organized. Also, ensure you can follow and manage the policies you create.
Accomplish One Task at a Time
Multi-tasking makes you feel like you are getting everything done, but it may be done too quickly and with error. Take one process, system, or task and work on it until it is where you want it to be. Ask your customers and employees for feedback and improve on it.
Research from Stanford University found that multi-tasking is less productive than doing one thing at a time. They also found that those who use multiple electronic devices cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.
Learn to Do Less
It is frustrating when you can’t get everything done. But if you take one step at a time and create systems and processes, you will be doing less. Don’t try to get everything done in one week either. Create a project timeline for bigger ideas so that you can give yourself time to work on it or delegate it out for someone else to take over.
“Don’t get distracted. Never tell yourself that you need to be the biggest brand in the whole world. Start by working on what you need at the present moment and then what you need to do tomorrow. So, set yourself manageable targets.” -Jas Bagniewski, Co-Founder of Eve Sleep
Technology is always changing. Ensure you continue to read and educate yourself on the latest trends and software that is on the market. What may have not been possible to automate today might be tomorrow.
When creating your systems and processes think how your business will operate if you took a day or a week off. Would everything fall apart? Or will it work smoothly because everyone knows what needs to be done? Research other best practices or talk to other accomplished entrepreneurs to find out other ideas so you won’t feel overwhelmed.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed so once you do, take the necessary steps above to help you accomplish your goals. Also, hire great people from the start as well. If they aren’t great or can’t become great, you need to replace them. Your employees are the ones who will help you not feel overwhelmed, so you want to ensure you hire those you trust.
Author: Raya Khashab
Raya is the CEO and co-founder of ezClocker. She is passionate about customers and building products that change the way people run their business. She is also a big supporter of the startup community and helping people achieve their dreams.