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A look at small business questions from the Southwestern Oregon Community College Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
By Arlene M. Soto CMA, CGBP, Southwestern SBDC Director

With all the priorities I have as a business owner, how do I manage my stress level?

Stress is inevitable in operating a business. Customers complain, cash flow isn’t enough to cover the expenses, high impact decisions must be made, employees don’t show up for work, workload requires more than 60 hours a week, family complains you’re never home and the list of possible stressors goes on and on. Stress causes anxiety which can lead to burn out, illness, business failure or family problems.

Here are some basic ideas that might help relieve some business stress and anxiety:
1. Prioritize tasks and do the important ones first even if they are unpleasant. For instance, collection calls on past due accounts are unpleasant but highly necessary for the success of your business. Do those tasks when your energy is at its highest. Follow the unpleasant tasks with something you enjoy doing that moves your business forward. Eliminate the tasks that are unnecessary to successfully operate your business like checking email multiple times a day. Many time management tools are available to help you plan each day so important tasks get done on time and correctly.
2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. That means making time to exercise, eat right, get plenty of rest and spend time with family and friends doing fun activities. Quality of life is as important to operating a successful business as hard work. Much research has been done on the value of a healthy lifestyle in creative thinking and having more energy.
3. Honesty and integrity reduce stress and create a more successful business environment. It’s much easier to be truthful then try to remember a story to cover dishonesty. Employees will often behave as they see management behaving. Customers appreciate knowing they can trust you to deliver on time and on budget. Family will react more positively if you share what you are feeling and address their concerns.
4. Accept the ups and downs of running a business as part of the process. A positive attitude is often the most important part of reducing stress. Not everything that happens in a business is controllable. Let go of the need to make every decision and run every project. Delegate where appropriate. A good resource on stress management is available at http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_management_relief_coping.htm.

To reduce stress, find the management tools that work best for you. Develop a healthy prospective on what’s truly important to your happiness and what’s getting in the way. Most business owners say operating their own business is the most exciting thing they can do to earn a living, that even with the stresses they wouldn’t want to do anything else.

The SBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network, the Oregon Business Development Department and Southwestern Oregon Community College. Arlene M. Soto has been the Director of the Southwestern Small Business Development Center since July 2007. To ask a question call 541-756-6445, e-mail asoto@socc.edu, or write 2455 Maple Leaf, North Bend, OR 97459. Additional help is available at the OSBDCN Web page www.bizcenter.org.

The SBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network, the Oregon Business Development Department and Southwestern Oregon Community College. Arlene M. Soto has been the Director of the Southwestern Small Business Development Center since July 2007. To ask a question call 541-756-6445, e-mail asoto@socc.edu, or write 2455 Maple Leaf, North Bend, OR 97459. Additional help is available at the OSBDCN Web page www.bizcenter.org.

© 2012 OSBDCN. All rights reserved.      Habla español?

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