When running a business, especially during those tough two first years, stress is going to feel like an old friend. But not one you’re happy to see. The one that trips you up and undermines you at every chance. Responsibility has a big part to play in that stress, but your workload might contribute a lot more than you think. Rather than trying to get your head down and power through, it might make a lot more sense to work smartly, instead.
Rather than focusing on managing your team so much, learn to trust them and instead learn how to manage yourself. Spend some time every morning prioritizing your work. Decide what needs to be done, what should be done, and what can wait. From that, allocate each task a time and fit it into a daily schedule. If it’s not on the schedule, don’t worry about it. However, do leave a little spare time. Within it, you can fit any sudden and urgent issues that pop up, or fit in some of the lower priority work if you find the time.
There is so much software out there that can make work so much more efficient that it’s entirely self-defeating to not use it. Automating can ensure that human error doesn’t get in the way of some of the crucial elements of the business, as well. HR management software allows you to rest assured that the monotonous, yet critical, duty of seeing employees compensated is taken care of. Accounting software can ensure all your books are kept up to date. While you can trust the best of these to work well, don’t get complacent. Check the work before you act on it.
If it needs a more human touch but you find yourself unable to keep up with the demands of the work, then you should look at letting someone outside the team handle it as well. Outsourcing some duties like contract packaging, fulfillment, and delivery allow a smaller business to make use of much more established services. Others, such as IT system management and website development, are more about being able to use expertise that you don’t have a full-time need for.
If you do have the expertise within the team, then consider occasionally delegating to your employees. This should be used sparingly at best and with a few caveats. For one, don’t delegate the most monotonous of jobs. It should have some training value for the team member helping you. Second, don’t delegate your job critical processes. Don’t expect employees to take responsibility for decisions or objectives that you should solely be handling yourself. Finally, ask permission. You may be the employer, but if your employee doesn’t think they are suited to handle the task or they have too much on their plate as it is, you have to respect that. You can’t and shouldn’t expect them to always be willing to work outside their role.
You are only one person and can do so much. Know what you can do, make sure you get it done and find a way to make the rest more achievable without taking up all your time. You will start to fall in love with the business if you get it right.