Being a small business owner is fun, challenging, but never easy. Whether you are just starting a business or already running one, there are a number of things that will push your stress limits and keep you awake at night.
Here are some of the common concerns of small business owners:
1. Financial stress.
One of the top concerns that will keep you awake at night is the problem of where and how to raise money for the business.
After spending hours filling up the lengthy bank loan application and gathering all required documentation, will your bank loan be approved? Since you have maxed out your credit card and used all your savings, can your “sweat equity” partner pony up some additional cash to get the business started? What are the chances of Mr. Angel Investor agreeing to invest in your business? And if Mr. Investor agrees to fund your business, do you think you can agree to his demands and can you sleep with the conditions Mr. Investor wants? Are you willing to give up control of your business just to lock those investment (and may even be booted out from your own business)?
Your stress can be even amplified if you know that you could lose your dream of starting or running your business if you are unable to secure the money you need.
2. Cashflow problems.
Money is running out, and you’ve got a thousand and one obligations to fulfill. Where will you get payroll for your employees this week? And the bank has called up again asking for your loan repayment. Your credit card company has threatened to turn over your account to collections. Plus, your son needs money to pay for the soccer camp that he has been dreaming since last summer. However, your business is running on empty – things have been so slow with customers only trickling in, and if they come, they don’t pay.
Cashflow problems are the number one nightmare of small business owners. Without money, your business simply cannot operate. And waiting for the bank to approve your line of credit so your business can have cash to cover all its obligations can be very stressful, especially in this tough economic climate and tighter lending conditions.
3. Overwhelming amount of workload.
As a small business owner, you need to wear many hats – the sheer number of which can drive you to insomnia. Try this little exercise: make a detailed list of all the activities and tasks that needs to be done to keep your business running smoothly. Do you think 24 hours will be enough to complete everything in your daily to-do list? And guess what, this is a never-ending and ever-evolving list of tasks, as your business grows and you tackle new opportunities creating new tasks for you.
It is very easy to feel overwhelmed with all the things you have to do if you are a business owner. Even if you are bone-tired and weary at the day’s activities, there’s still a lot of things to do: bookkeeping, completing clients’ projects, writing articles or reports, business planning, doing social marketing, among others. Worse still is when you’ve promised something to a client and the client is expecting it – throwing off your entire schedule and pushing back your entire to-do list. It is so easy to feel that the day is never done when you’re an entrepreneur.
Double the stress if you are running the business solo and you have to do everything yourself. Things become even more overwhelming and plain crazy if you still have a full time job while jump starting and running the business. Just imagine the stress if your boss at work is rushing you to meet an important deadline and wants you to work overtime in the next few days — which gives you reduced time and energy to work on your business and meet your own deadlines! At the end of the day, you’ll be asking yourself, “How did I end up with such a grueling schedule, only to be rewarded by this constant and overwhelming sense of dread? Will it ever stop?” Yes, only if you quit your job or you end your business.
4. People problems.
Starting a business and managing other people are two different skill sets. Managing employees, partners and contractors can be challenging, and yes, can cause you sleepless nights.
What will you do to the assistant whose main talent is to antagonize your other workers? Or a talented young person you just hired who can’t seem to respect you and your ideas? You may also have a right hand person whom you trusted with everything about the business, only to leave you with all your customers’ files to start her competing business? Then, can you imagine the sleepless nights a workplace accident that left an employee critically injured will bring? Or when you can’t make heads or tails about the low revenue of your business, and you suspect that it is due to employee theft?
5. Planning for the next steps.
Even thinking of the things you need to do next for the business can give you sleepless nights. In fact, how many of you have lain awake thinking of your plans for the business? Or suddenly you are jolted awake by thoughts or ideas about the business. Whether the projects for the future seem so rosy, or things look bleak, it is hard to totally shut off the business even at sleep. Just make sure you have a pen and paper handy near your bed so you can immediately jot down the thoughts, ideas and plans that come to your mind when you are in bed.