Running a business is stressful. You put a lot of your time, energy, and money into creating and growing a successful company. You do it because you love what you do, and you love being your own boss, but sometimes it can be easy to let the stress of it all get to you. It doesn’t have to be this way, though.
Five Stress Management Tips
Tip 1: You Can’t Do It All
When you’re a small business owner, it’s tempting to want to control every part of the business. You might be hesitant to let crews work without our supervision, or maybe you feel that you have to personally call back any customers with complaints or questions. However, you’re just one person. While you might be able to do it all when your business is first starting out, as you grow this will become harder and harder, causing more and more stress. Recognize that you can’t, and shouldn’t, be a one-man-show.
Create a team of employees that you can trust and delegate tasks to other team members. Create a process and stick with it. For example, perhaps you have a customer service team that handles most customer calls, but any particularly sensitive calls or issues with long-time customers will be escalated to you. Focus your expertise, instead of trying to be everywhere at once, and you’ll alleviate some of that stress.
Tip 2: Be Honest With Customers
It’s tempting to want to take on every job, and no one likes saying no to a customer. However, if you are well and truly swamped, you need to be honest with your customers. If you’re booked solid for two weeks, and a customer insists you have to service their lawn or come out for a quote the next day, don’t let the pressure get to you. Be polite and talk with the customer about availability.
If you feel it will help ease the blow, you can even consider offering the customer an incentive for their patience. But it will only stress you and your employees out if you try to make something happen when there’s just no time. It may not seem like a big deal when you’re making an exception for one customer, but what happens when ten, twenty, or thirty customers need you to fit them into a packed schedule?
Set up your timetable for the day or the week, and don’t try to squeeze more in after the fact. You’ll save yourself and employees from the stress of trying to do too much in too little time, and your customers will be happier with honesty rather than the possibility of broken promises.
Tip 3: Use Your Time Wisely
There’s only so much time in the day, and it can be stressful when you’re trying to make plans, set schedules, calculate budgets, and performs many other tasks related to running a business in addition to actually supervising and completing the work. Relieve some of that stress by using technology to set up systems and processes that will help you be more efficient with your time.
If you’re still creating schedules by hand or using a basic calendar app, consider scheduling software. This will not only help automate the process, but it will also assist in setting up the most efficient routes for your workers by placing houses in close proximity together when creating the schedule.
If you’re creating and tracking budgets using a simple Excel sheet or even just notebook paper, consider accounting software that will help automate the tracking of costs and profits. There are all sorts of ways you can use technology to help save you time, and thus stress.
Tip 4: Cultivate an Open Culture
One of the best ways to reduce stress in the workplace is to create and cultivate an open and transparent culture. Your employees should feel comfortable coming to you to relay any concerns they might have about feeling overworked or stressed. If they’re too worried you might react poorly, they may just hold it in until they reach a breaking point.
If this happens, their work—and how customers view your business—might suffer, or you might lose a valuable employee. Trust your employees, and they’ll trust you. You should also encourage camaraderie between your employees. If one crew is overworked, can members of a second crew fill in for the week?
You may need to shift some schedules and change up routines, but it will be better for everyone if workloads remain balanced. The team members who have to jump in and help out one week may be the ones who need help the next, and they’ll understand that changes are being made to help each other out.
Tip 4: Find Your Stress Reliever
No matter what steps you take to decrease stress in the workplace, ultimately there is no way to completely avoid it. Discover what helps you wind down and release stress during your off hours. Is it Friday night board games with the family? Do you like to bike on the trails? How about joining a local flag football team? Find the activity that helps you relax.
You want to focus on this activity, and enjoy yourself in that moment, instead of thinking about what happened at work the other day or worrying about your plans for the next week. It may be hard to set aside time away from your business, especially if you’re in a heavy growth stage or the busiest time of year. But down time is so important for your mental health, and numerous studies have proven that you are more productive when you take time away to recharge.
Stress is an inevitable part of life, but by incorporating these stress management tips into your day-to-day activities, you can help manage and relieve excess stress in the workplace. If you’re still finding you need more support, consider franchising. Spring-Green franchise owner Scott Hodge admitted, “Trying to run the whole thing by myself was a huge challenge.”
That’s when he turned to franchising. “Spring-Green will provide support and marketing. If I don’t know it, I now have resources to find the answers.” Let the experts at Spring-Green help you manage your growth with our 40 years of experience and our proven expertise in marketing and technology. Learn more about how Spring-Green can expand your lawn care services. Call 1-800-777-8608 or visit us at www.growmygreenindustrybusiness.com.