Listen, feeling overwhelmed is an inevitable emotion. In fact, it’s an essential part of your growth and economic development as an entrepreneur. So to get through those days when you feel like you just can’t handle one more thing, preparation is key. The key is to identify your lessons learned from the first few stressful incidents and select the right processes, tools, and techniques to prevent it from happening again.
Here are a few ways to prepare:
Look Back to Plan Ahead
Consider the following questions:
- Over the last year, what was the most challenging thing that happened in your business? Did you overlook any important business functions? Which part of your business did you get bogged down in details?
- What’s your company’s busy season? Can you forecast your staffing needs?
- What steps do your customer(s) go through when engaging with your company? How can you improve a customer’s experience with your company?
- Given your lessons learned, what are three things you could do differently to reduce stress?
- Has the market (e.g., technology or trends) or customer needs changed? If so, how will your business adapt to these changes?
Lastly, a year from now, what do you want your business to look like? What are your business goals? Consider tools like Slack, Trello, and Asana, to plan, track, manage, and collaborate with your team.
Automate Repetitive Tasks
These tasks can include marketing, billing, payroll and basic customer service, to help you reduce labor costs, save time and reduce stress. Consider:
- Social media –Use a calendar to plan months in advance and include your busy season, industry trends, holiday specials, and promotions. Batch create your content. Then use Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule your social media posts throughout the week or month.
- Outreach emails – Marketing automation software like Mail Chimp and Infusionsoft can send newsletters as well as a series of follow-up emails to potential and existing customers.
- Meetings – Avoid back and forth email scheduling with tools such as Calendly, Doodle, or Acuity.
- Payroll and invoices – Apps such as Wave and Stripe can send recurring billing and payment reminders. Intuit is an affordable option for payroll.
- Company documents – consider cloud storage applications to make it easier for your staff, freelancers, or clients to access documents.
- Delegate or outsource and trust your team.