Aside from the great stuff your business provides, whether it be products, services, great customer service or awesome coffee (and, let's face it, everyone needs awesome coffee!), none of this can happen without a healthy cashflow.
No cashflow, no business.
We all know that cashflow and a healthy bottom line is imperative to running a successful business.
The point I'm trying to make is that, aside from the patently obvious, there's a ton of other variables to running a healthy business that aren't necessarily financially driven.
In fact, I set out to discover exactly what these business challenges were (call them pain points, if you prefer) when I ran a poll the other week asking the following:
I've got to say, I was kinda surprised by the responses. I figured that Marketing and Time would be pretty high.
In fact, marketing is very much a time-reliant endeavor. Nobody markets their business in a few minutes. It takes a lot of time, as we all know.
However, only 4% of you guys said that Motivating Employees was a challenge.
Now, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is either because you have great staff, which is fantastic if true, or that you're not at the stage where you need to employ them. Either way, I'd be hugely interested to hear your thoughts, so do drop me a message via Twitter or Facebook.
Yet, the response that interested me the most was that just under a quarter of you said that Fatigue was the biggest challenge you faced.
I was pretty floored by this.
I totally get that running a business is exhausting, but I guess I'd never considered that fatigue would be so high on the list of business challenges for so many.
It is really hard work trying to make a business a success. The hours can be super long; you need total focus and huge energy reserves to keep things moving. More importantly, being an entrepreneur can be hugely stressful, which can have an impact on your mental wellbeing.
As well as managing your time efficiently – easier said than done, as I wrote about in a previous blog post - there are ways to combat fatigue. It may take a little rearranging of your busy schedule, but our health, both mental and physical, is really important, so I hope these ideas help:
Try and ensure that you start and finish work at the same time each day - say, 8am-6pm - and stick to it. Sure, occasionally you have to do overtime, everyone does, but your body and mind will thank you for allowing it to switch off. Besides, no one expects your store or online business to be open at 3am! If you're really concerned about not being around on Twitter or wherever, add business hours to your profile. For example:
If you do have employees, delegate tasks to them. One of the best ways to motivate employees (to the 4% of poll respondents who find it their biggest challenge) is to empower them. Check out this blog post I wrote back in August about that very subject. It could have huge benefits for your business, too.
Take some time off
If delegation works for you, then reward yourself and take some time off. There's nothing like recharging the batteries to bring renewed focus and energy to your business. Go spend some time with your family.
Get some exercise
Yes, this one's a little surprising, especially if it's the last thing you might want to do, but doing a little exercise is a sure-fire way to release those endorphins. You don't have to be pounding the streets for mile-after-mile or lifting ridiculously heavy weights. Any exercise can have a beneficial effect and help boost your energy levels.
Sounds easy, doesn't it? If you're exhausted you'll sleep better, surely? Not necessarily, not with the many and varied tasks of running a business constantly playing around your head. Though there are ways to help you get the most from your sleep time.
- go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. I've heard sleep apps can be helpful
- exercise (helps with fatigue and sleep - sign me up!)
- ensure there's no light in your bedroom
- listen to an audiobook - my personal favorite, sends me right off within minutes
- don't drink caffeine after about 2pm. Yes, I've said coffee is awesome, and it is, but downing a cup of Joe at 6pm is not going to help you come bedtime.
I'll be running a number of polls as I find the responses really useful and it helps me get to know my followers a little better and understand their interests and challenges. Please do take a moment to vote on one and, if you have more to say on a particular subject, then do get in touch.
In the meantime, take care.