If you don’t manage your time properly, stress will kick in, your physical and emotional health will suffer, and eventually you’ll burn out. Marketing maestro Stephanie Redcross from Vegan Mainstream offers some strategies to avoid this and ensure that you and your business will thrive.
One of the first things I tell my clients who are feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks they’re trying to accomplish in their business is: you don’t have to do it all in the beginning.
Too many people start off their business and think, ‘I have to be on every social media platform.’ And the answer to that is, ‘No!’
You might want to create all the accounts you plan to have long term so you secure the name – that’s very important – but you don’t necessarily need to manage all those accounts from the get-go. It’s much more beneficial for your business if you learn how to manage one or two social media accounts well than if you struggle to manage five in a mediocre way.
Instead, get some focus. Pick one or two, do them really well for six months, and then add a third one. Do that well for another six months. Now you’re a year in and then you might add another. There’s nothing wrong with having this kind of staggered approach because you are a small business.
If it’s just you, or you and one other person, you can’t build your business like a big corporation that has teams of people. Focus on building your business over time and doing that in a sustainable way instead of building it with the attitude, ‘I have to be big, I have to look big.’ It’s more important – especially at the beginning – to have impact than to look and feel big.
The second piece of advice I give my clients is around time management. What I mean by this is making sure you have a good idea of what you spend your time on in a day. Use your calendar.
For example, if you’re going to do social media, put it on your calendar for 30 minutes or an hour – and it doesn’t have to be every day. Maybe in the beginning it’s Monday, Wednesday and Friday. That way you can get a handle on this task instead of having it feel like one more of ‘50 tasks I wake up and have to do every day.’
Make a list of all the tasks you have to do and divide them out over the week. Get really specific and allocate your time; if you need a block in the day for fire drills, issues, customer complaints, talking with employees, create time on your calendar for that as well.
As business owners we often think we should have an open calendar for whatever comes our way and that’s what does us in because without a time-sensitive schedule in place it’s easy for a day to run away. It’s also easy to miscalculate how much time you’re dedicating to something.
The third thing I say to a lot of people when they’re trying not to become overwhelmed is, it’s ok to take a step back.
Say you have a food business and you expanded too fast. You tried to do too much. You went into 10 farmers’ markets and it’s driving you crazy. You’re exhausted, tired – maybe the quality of your food is starting to suffer and so forth. Cut back!
There’s nothing wrong with cutting back
Sometimes our pride comes into play and we’re concerned that we won’t look good. The thing is, you’re a business owner now. You have to make smart decisions, and in this day and age you can tell your customers what you’re doing. You can tell them you’re cutting back, and why.
Sometimes we get so nervous and we run and hide. We tell ourselves things like, ‘Oh I couldn’t do that, I’m such a failure!’ But it’s not a failure. This is you making a business assessment and doing what makes sense for yourself and your business.
Cutting back now and going bigger again later down the road is much smarter than potentially bleeding your business dry because you’ve expanded too quickly and you’re letting shame and fear keep you from really making good decisions.