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Beating Business Burnout - Are you at risk?

Friday, January 03, 2014   By Mike Reddy


Small business owners will be the first to admit to burning the midnight oil in order to get things done. It usually comes to light as they start their business coaching programme that they are no strangers to crack of dawn wake-up calls and running on empty for days on end.

What they are not always aware of are the dangers of the slow stress burn out, when pushing the limits becomes detrimental to the business.

Contrary to the way it sounds, stress related burn out does not happen overnight.  You will not wake up one morning and simply combust, but rather slowly erode to a point of potential no-return.

Too much stress leads to fatigue, which will affect decision making, confidence, and energy levels. Simultaneously, business practices will suffer from procrastination, inflexibility and overall pessimism, perpetuating a vicious cycle.

It's why stress is usually one of the first things I address when coaching business owners.

Preventing business stress is possible, but just like a virus, it must be stopped before it has a chance to fester and grow out of control.

So my business coaching tip is to stock up on the three most powerful anti-stress weapons:

  • Managing your work- be wary of over-commitment, delegation of resources and perfectionism.
  • Renew, restore and rejuvenate on both a daily and long-term level and take personal time out’s.
  • Focus on the ‘right work’, that balances fulfillment both personally and professionally.

Stress can easily sizzle your inner-fire, the passion that is propelling the business forward can be put out when work load is not being managed effectively.

Seek out mentors and personal support systems to turn to when you need to feel revitalised. It's also an important part of business coaching.  You can also get counsel from those who have been there before.

Surround yourself with a network of positive, goal-oriented people who share similar visions. Positivity is contagious.

Stop feeling guilty- remember that moving on is not the same as giving up. Accept the chaos and choose to own it, make it yours. Don’t be so hard on yourself!

Balking the obvious nods to slowing down, begin new endeavors and expand the business horizons. This may reignite the passion that the early stages of entrepreneurialism initially instigated.

Be aware of the early signs of business-related stress in preparation for scratching that itch before it becomes a problem.  Difficulty in completing simple tasks, loss of creativity, resentment and joyless execution of otherwise exciting tasks are some of the first signs.

Remember that a business is a journey, not a destination. The road to success is bound to be paved with patchy terrain and burnout can happen at any time in the process. Do not put a timeline on recovering from business stress, giving yourself the time to rest is imperative to a fully restorative recovery.

But look for the early signs.  If they are already there a business coach might be the best investment you could make.

Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.