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How to Avoid Burnout as a Small Business Owner

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on October 22, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

As the owner of a small business you are literally the key to the whole company. You provide the inspiration, the final say in business goals, and the raison d'etre.

You might think the most important business strategy is to maximize income or efficiency. But really what's most important is keeping the heart of the business going strong. That means you.

Work burnout is a real risk for small business owners who put more than just their time and money into their companies. If you want your small business to succeed, and of course you do, make sure that work is always a joy and you're excited to come back and do it again every day.

  1. Plan and organize. Without a clear plan and goal it's hard to measure your success and know what still needs work. It also means fresh eyes can review how things are going for your business and help you get back on track.

  2. Figure out priorities. As a small business owner there will always be more things that need doing than you have time to accomplish in a given day, week, month, or year. Take time to prioritize your tasks so you don't feel like you're wasting time.

  3. Don't put it all on you. You're the owner but that doesn't mean you have to do everything. Leave the tax issues to your accountant and the legal questions to your attorney so that you can spend your energy on running the business and save some time for leisure, not paperwork.

  4. Schedule downtime. Whether it's a whole weekend or just an afternoon a week, schedule time when you won't be doing work and promise yourself to take that time off. Stepping back will allow you to see the business with fresh, and appreciative, eyes.

  5. Learn to communicate well. Your small business depends on your vision and if other people are going to help or work for you they need to understand that vision too. If you work on communicating your ideas effectively you'll save yourself having to explain twice and be able to focus on something else.

  6. Know what stresses you out. Running a business is enough stress so figure out what kinds of situations are most stressful to you and avoid them. Whether it's back to back meetings, spending too long on the phone, or missing meals, find a way to avoid your stressors.

  7. Reassess. Once a month, once a year, or whenever you find time sit down and reassess your business goals. It's grounding to know what you're working for and where you've come from so check in on your business every once in a while and don't forget to pat yourself on the back for all you've accomplished.

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