Being a business owner can be a series of highs and lows. It is easy for some small companies to fall into the trap of Feast or Famine. Things are great when they are making bank and dire when sales have dried up. The constant ebb and flow of work can become consuming.
Many successful entrepreneurs have grown an enterprise that extends beyond their own skill-set. Work is either delegated to outsourced contractors or a handful of employees. This helps complete more projects and grow sales. Yet I found many owners suffer from a common trait that doesn’t discriminate based on the size of business or number of employees. It is B.O.B., or Business Owner Burnout.
I once heard someone say if you are passionate about what you do you are never stressed at work. There are many entrepreneurs I’m sure would disagree with them. Many entrepreneurs reach a point where success can bring challenges. Sales are growing. Business is thriving, and obstacles still occur. The biggest issue most B.O.B. entrepreneurs face is their inability to let go.
Control is something most leaders struggle with. This is especially true when it’s your name on the building and you nurtured the growth from nothing to where it is today. All decisions seem to flow through you. Employees don’t perform at the level you want. Hiring talented candidates is increasingly difficult. Customers will only speak to you. The list goes on. Over time the weight of the challenges leads to stress and anxiety which permeates your personal life as well as your professional. No amount of passion will change this.
Get It Under Control
So what about B.O.B.? Can we avoid the burnout? Good news! You can! Reducing the feeling of burnout is possible, but you have to fundamentally change how you work, the way you communicate, and the activities you perform as a leader. Here’s just a few things you can do:
- Be willing to let go – The first step is the hardest. It involves placing your trust in others, even if it’s only in theory right now. Because placing your trust in others involves additional steps to be successful.
- Create a responsibility chart – Who does what. This is different than an org chart because we want to know your bench strength. What talent do you have in house? Are there additional people you can source for help? List each person with their responsibilities. Include yourself
- Look for gaps and overlaps – When you review responsibilities you will ultimately discover two things: There are people doing redundant work and some work can only be done by you because you lack the expertise to accomplish the task. Make a list for each.
- Correct the overlaps – Figure out why you have redundant work. Is it checks and balances? Do you have a lack of trust for the person performing the task? Find out why the overlap exists and take action to correct it.
- Plug the gaps – Missing talent? Outsource or hire. Find someone who can address the holes in your operation and bring value.
- Empower the people – Your team wants to shine. They need to have permission to do so. Every employee wants to know what they do matters. Put them in the driver’s seat. The more you trust them the better they will perform.
- Trust but verify – Many leaders fall short here. They empower others to do a job then fail to follow up and hold accountable. When the person drops the ball the owner validates their need to do the work themselves and adds it back to their plate along with the other tasks they picked up along the way. Be a leader. Coordinate regular touch base meetings and check in to make sure work is being done as expected.
- Take a break – Work does not need to be 24/7. Spend time with the phone turned off and fully engaged with your family. Travel. Allow the company to run without your constant involvement. It will teach people how to build a thriving enterprise without you being there.
Dealing with B.O.B. Is a common occurrence. You can significantly reduce the stress by taking an active role in leading your business and not managing its tasks. Be a B.O.S.S., a Business Owner Success Story!