Thursday, 28 February 2013

It's Business, Baby - How to Beat Stress

It's Business, Baby!

Every week I get emails from aspiring start up business owners, wanting tips and tricks of the trade. If these girls and guys are brave enough to reach out and email, I figured there must be others out there pondering the same.

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aka what to do when the shit hits the fan.

The funny thing about making plans, is that more often than not, Sod's law swoops right in and throws down a bombshell big enough to make even the hardiest schedule go awry. This month I've experienced severe delays on materials, a bereavement (of sorts, hey, I don't care what anyone says, the family dog is just that - part of the family), an emergency trip to the dentist (and the subsequent painkiller induced coma thereafter), a big shakeup in personal circumstances and the mother of all manflu's. But instead of give in to the urge to throw myself on the floor and have a big ole' tantrum, employing a few cunning tricks have left be able to navigate through the storms relatively unscathed.

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- Ok so this one requires a wee bit of forward planning, but remember my post about organising your time? The great bit about trying your hardest to keep your daily work load out of the 'Important and Urgent' quadrant for 90% of your time is that, if something crops up you've totally got some leeway without having to hit the panic button. So don't leave everything till the last minute, m'kay?

- Ain't Nobody Better Than My Clique - seriously, get yourself a bunch of good ole' guys and gals around you to rally in not only support and kind gestures, but also the day to day workings of your business should you need to call in the troops. This week I've had the pleasure of having Gareth to help out packing orders and preparing for an event whilst I'm stuffed to the eyeballs in tissues and needing to nap every couple hours. And hey, life can throw you some awesome curveballs too, so when I had to do my biggest wholesale order during the Christmas rush, I offered to cook a few meals/endless love in exchange for my mum packing up hairbows. Asking for help sometimes is absolutely ok!

- Rainy day money. This applies to business, too - sometimes you can't escape from paying over the odds to have something done fast, or cough up for an unexpected bill, or buying emergency bubbles, so make sure you're putting enough away for a rainy day that you can fall back on if your cash-flow forecast is a wee bit awry.

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- Let your customers know what's going on - but subtly! This is going to be quite controversial, but I don't agree with the massive Facebook update rant about how you're 'only one person, I don't need all this stress, my pet rat just died so I'm spending time with my family, omgawwwwd you guys I'm so behind on orders soz!' I'm sure you get my drift. Whilst I've seen a lot of rallying support for businesses with updates like this, you could also be undoing a lot of trust and brand awareness you've spent so long building. Especially with those sorts of updates where the company is cussing on a customer. It's just makes me feel a bit uneasy! Of course, if something really is taking you away from your business for the foreseeable future, you need to let people know, but in my opinion the best way to contact your customers to let them know that there's an issue is personally. But of course, you're all working in the 'important but not yet urgent' quadrant already, so this isn't a problem!

- Above all, remember, you are only a human, and sometimes you just gotta take an afternoon off to take a bubble bath and have an early night, and relieve yourself of all guilt of doing so.

Images by Viviane Sassen for Dazed and Confused

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