8 tips to avoid burnout when starting a new business

Anyone who has started a small business knows only too well that it is hard work. All too often entrepreneurs experience mental and physical exhaustion as a result of pushing themselves too hard.

It’s easy to feel despair and mental and physical fatigue, resulting in a sense of cynicism and disconnection. Burnout can strike anyone at any time, but entrepreneurs are particularly vulnerable. It’s understandable that starting a new business can result in burnout. Entrepreneurs often believe they can’t stop working, because if they do they won’t be able to establish their company. How else will they be able to cover their start-up costs?

However, working too hard for too long can be detrimental to your business over time.

Here are eight top tips for surviving the start-up phase of your business.

1. Share and delegate responsibilities

When launching a new business it’s tempting to get involved in every area of the operation. Do it yourself if you want anything done well right? Wrong! Giving up responsibility and delegating from the start is actually ideal. If you’re a sole operator, this could mean employing an accountant or delegating bookkeeping to a virtual assistant. If you have staff, delegating roles will help prevent fatigue in all parties. Employee satisfaction grows as employees gain authority and autonomy in their jobs.

Instead of micromanaging, empower your team members and experience the joy of relinquishing some lesser responsibilities.

2. Set specific goals and objectives

Make it clear what you want from your staff, and let them know whether late nights, early mornings, or short weekends are to be expected. Set clear goals and expectations for yourself as well. Burnout can be accelerated by thinking that you’ll, “work as hard as you can for as long as you can”. Business survival requires avoiding overworking yourself for the sake of it.

Recommended reading: How to set effective business goals for your business

3. Take plenty of breaks

The most obvious suggestion of all is to take pauses. Breaks will actually increase your productivity and the significance of the time you spend working. It’s critical to move around and refresh during the day – even a five-minute stroll can be good for your mental health and creativity.

You should also arrange time away from the office for vacations that are free of electronic gadgets. Short vacations can be just as helpful as longer holidays in terms of restoring wellbeing. So instead of taking a long holiday every now and then, consider taking shorter holidays more often. Your business will appreciate you for it.

4. Set aside time for a “Think Week”

Time off is critical for recharging your batteries and fanning creative fires. Plan a “Think Week” into your schedule and take it one step further. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is well-known for taking week-long vacations from work, shutting himself off from his team, family, and friends, as well as civilisation itself. Gates planned the strategy for Microsoft’s success by shutting out and disconnecting totally, and he did so without sending a single text message or email to his colleagues.

5. Create growth opportunities

Finding fresh ways for you and your employees to grow and learn can help you convert work into play and break up the monotony of your days.

Helping your employees understand their path to bigger and better jobs will also help you when it comes to preventing burnout. No one wants to feel like they’re stuck in a rut, and a road map to success can help your employees push beyond the monotony of their day to day tasks.

6. Respect other people’s work-life balance

As the boundary between being on and off the clock blurs, the phrase “work-life balance” has become a catchphrase. Simply put, the best method to minimise burnout is to provide employees with a life outside of work.

There are a few ways to do this, including:

  • implementing flexible scheduling so that your staff can clock in and out based on when and how they get work done;
  • encouraging employees to use their paid time off; or
  • establishing a policy of no work emails or conversations beyond a particular time each night.

Recommended reading: 6 Secrets to Work-Life Balance

7. Build and rely on your network

Whether you’re a solopreneur or a team leader, you’ll need someone outside of your organisation to bounce ideas off and to complain to. Find a business mentor or a colleague in your business to lean on, or attend networking events or online business forums when faced with difficult business decisions or circumstances.

8. Find a way to let off steam

We all have a hobby or a favourite way to blow off steam when needed – an activity, or a routine that just makes us happy. As business owners we often let such outlets fall by the wayside just when we need them the most. Make time every day to embrace your outlet, whether it’s going for a run, meditating, writing short stories, or volunteering for a worthy cause. Make time for it, even if you feel you don’t have time for it. You’ll nearly always return to your work more focused and ready to go if you give yourself the time to use your outlet appropriately.

Continuing to manage and grow your business simply may no longer be possible if you experience burnout. Like many other mental health conditions, burnout can be an underlying condition that leads to depression. Recognising the effects of burnout is the first step towards overcoming it. Once you’ve accepted that you are suffering from burnout, you can use some of the measures outlined above to address it. Doing so will enable you to return to your business with a clear head and a positive outlook for the future.

As an SME business owner and employer there are many things to manage every day. But when you choose BizCover for your business insurance*, you’ll enjoy quick and easy access to the business insurance policies you require. Our simple to use online service model makes obtaining insurance for your business a breeze. Go online or give us a call on 1300 920 864 to see how we can help protect your business.

*This information is general only and does not consider your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording
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