Running a small business, especially in Nigeria, has the potential to stress you out. Lack of sales, bad electricity, too much debt, issues with employees, problems with operations, etc. are some of the things that contribute to the stress in business.
Managing stress is essential as a business owner because typically, you are the sole proprietor or probably have few employees. This means that if anything happens to you, it will affect the growth of your business. So as a business owner, the sooner you learn small business stress management, the better.
Luckily, there are plenty of small business stress management techniques that will help remove the tension and anxiety of your work. Here are some of them;
Remember What Is Going Well
It is easy to focus on the things that are not going too well in your business as an entrepreneur. In a report by entrepreneur.com, entrepreneurs or small business owners become stressed when looking at all the things behind schedule, underfunded, or needing to be fixed.
However, when you focus on what is going right with your business, it instantly puts you in a positive mindset, making it much easier for you to manage stress. “Taking stock of things that have gone right helps you put into perspective the change you are affecting and the growth that you have achieved,” someone said. The feeling that you are making progress no matter how little is one of the best ways to relax your mind.
Focusing on the right things going on in your business also keeps your mind in the present. “When you’re stressed, your brain tells you that you have to stay vigilant,” says Drema Dial, psychologist and life coach. “Your brain goes into hyper-drive with all the things that could be going wrong, will go wrong, might have already gone wrong, and how you will fix it! That is one way our brain uses to keep us locked into familiar routines. Therefore, it is imperative to break this cycle, which keeps us chained to unhealthy coping behaviors and keeps your stress level high.”
Rank Your Tasks
As a small business owner, you would be expected to work on multiple things simultaneously, which can lead to a high level of stress. Experts say that one of the causes of stress in business is having so many things to work on that none eventually gets done. Even if you try to do a little bit of the task, you will only complete a few of them. Therefore, try to stay focused on a particular task or a small number of tasks at a time.
Prioritizing your task is the best way to know which of the task to start first. By working in order of most relevant to the least, you will relieve some pressure as you will have time to carry out the tasks in an appropriate order, and you will not have so much to deal with at once.
Build A Solid Structure
The more we plan, the less we have to anticipate what might happen continuously. We have a greater sense of self-efficiency in our ability to handle whatever comes up when we plan. Knowing what to expect gives you a sense of peace and control, making it easier to manage stress.
One effective way is always to write everything that your mind is trying to process – the problem, possible solutions, and all other little things you might need to remember later. Although this might take a while, it is worth it. Your brain would not have to worry about what is going on in your business for a while since you already have an idea of what to expect at work. If you know that you have a complicated item to cross off your to-do list, take care of it first thing in the morning to avoid that sense of dread. Plus, you’ll feel accomplished and ready to conquer whatever else comes your way.
Delegate Or Outsource Tasks
As a boss, it can be hard to let go and give up control. Any entrepreneur knows he/she cannot do it all. And if you are trying to, you are probably not doing an excellent job at every single thing. That is why learning how to delegate or outsource certain parts of the biz is a foundation for being successful. Recognize your weaknesses so that you can hand over some tasks to other people who would do it better – this would relieve so much stress.
Good health is important when you are a business owner. Running a business requires a lot from you. Your small business comes with long nights, early mornings, crazy traffic, no weekends, and no sick days. This nonstop life puts a strain on your body, coupled with the stress of your business.
You cannot work all the time and expect to maintain the same level of productivity and efficiency. You are not a robot. Therefore, you need to replenish your energy levels, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. When you’re working on your business, you should be present and in the moment. That would be difficult if you are unable to take breaks or feel a conflict between your work life and personal life.
Running a small business in Nigeria is one of the most challenging things you will ever take on. However, it could be rewarding. Please share in the comment section how you cope with or manage stress as a business owner.
Networking Is Dead
“Networking as we know it, is dead,” says Scott Gerber, the CEO of The Community Company and author of “Super Connector: Stop Networking and Start Building Business Relationships That Matter.” I quite agree with him, or should I say maybe we are not doing it the right way.
People have over 500 connections on LinkedIn, and most do not even know a single one of them, well maybe one or two family members and a few friends. For example, I have 224 connections, excluding my family and friends on LinkedIn, and I am yet to speak with any them. These days we dwell so much on the number of connections we have, the number of business cards we were able to collect and give out, and the small talks we might have had in the process, that we abandon the sole purpose of connecting with people.
“Rather than growing a huge network focused on sheer numbers, building a strong network is about establishing a relatively small number of deep, high-quality, business relationships based on common values. The ‘why’ of connecting is focused on people first, opportunities second. Allow yourself to help others. Don’t feel like you are too generous or giving away too much with nothing in exchange. Keeping score won’t do you any good.” – an excerpt from the book ‘Networking is dead – making connections that matter’ by Larry Mohl.
To create strong relationships that can boost your personal and professional goals, you would need to focus on relationship building instead of being a networker. Networkers are short-term thinkers, very transactional oriented. These days, people use relationships for their personal gains and strategies. Meanwhile, a relationship builder realizes beforehand that social capital is the most important currency she will ever have. She is empathetic, emotionally connected, intelligent, curious, and a people lover. Unlike the networkers, she thinks more long-term in terms of value creation and naturally generous towards others. Building deep relationships can take a while; however, you will reap the benefits from them later on.
To be a relationship builder instead of a networker, you should think like one, according to Gerber, there are three kinds;
– The Thinkers; They are curious and have lots of ideas running through their heads. However, they are not always good at executing them. If you are one, you should make an effort to share those ideas with people. Look for people who can help or inspire you to put those ideas into action.
– The Enablers; They assemble people and share their ideas with them. An enabler is that friend that would always email you to introduce you to someone she thinks might be able to help you out
– The Executors; These are the accomplishers; they make people’s ideas happen. If you are one, find ways to expose yourself to as many new ideas as possible. Maybe, you can start reading new publications or following new hashtags related to your industry.
Before we conclude, here are some tips for you to enjoy the benefits of relationship-building;
- Change your approach,
- Develop your expertise,
- Build your relationships around a shared interest,
- Share what you know with people,
- Focus on a higher goal,
- Make sure you follow-up on all your contacts.
Like people say, “you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or be the boss of a company to be a successful person.” To get great things done, open yourself up to new ideas and people; build strong relationships.
What A Marketing Communications Strategy Is And How To Do It Right
What is marketing communications strategy?
Marketing communications strategy is the strategy used by a company or individual to reach their target market through various types of communication. It includes your message (what is to be said), the medium (where it is to be said), and the target (to whom your message is reaching).
You might be wondering: what’s a marketing communications strategy that always works, even without a budget?
Easy: build relationships with journalists to get press coverage, guest posts, and backlinks.
Marketing communications or Public Relations is the ‘Promotion’ bit of the “4P’s of marketing” you might have learned during your university days (product, place, price, promotion).
Since “marketing communications strategy” is a mouthful, most people just shorten it to “Public Relations” which essentially uses online channels and software to identify relevant journalists, pitch them suitable stories and earn free media coverage.
Usually, PR strategy means building top of mind awareness amongst your ideal customers about the product or offer.
How you go about this will depend a lot on your experience, industry, and budget. If your marketing plan has a budget of a million dollars to spare, you can reach out to your target market with a promotional mix that includes TV or Facebook ads.
However, if you’re like most entrepreneurs, you want to promote your business without breaking the bank.
And there is no better way to do that than by managing your own PR campaign internally without retaining the services of a media relations company or a full-service marketing company.
Wait, do you mean “free as in ‘free lunch”?
Exactly! If you apply the methods in this post to your own marketing communications strategy, you’ll learn how to build lasting relationships with journalists and influencers, get free press, and acquire more customers through a sustainable organic approach.
Anyone from your team can easily play the role of a marketing communications manager. You don’t even need to hire a dedicated marketing communications specialist!
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