Identifying and Preventing Burnout when You’re a Business Owner
Burnout creeps up on you like the Dementors of Harry Potter fame. You may not see it at first, but it slowly takes over and, when it hits, it can devastate your body, mind, life, and business. Burnout can destroy even the strongest businesses and the best business owners. On this week’s The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield, Pavlo Phitidis discusses ways you can identify, prevent, and manage burnout as a business owner:
Identifying Burnout as a Business Owner
If you’ve read any of the Harry Potter books, or watched any of the movies, you’ll be familiar with the Dementors. The Dementors suck the hope out of characters in the series, leaving them feeling listless, tired, and despondent. Unable to identify exactly what’s making you feel this way, you end up disillusioned, unable to focus, and – seemingly suddenly – you’re completely adrift. Burnout works much like the Dementors and business owners are at high risk for burnout. As a business owner, you’ve invested passion, energy, time, and money, into your business, often forsaking financial safety nets, and putting your personal life on the line, to build your business.
How Burnout Manifests
Burnout begins to manifest through negative thinking and forecasting. As a business owner, you’re an optimist – if you weren’t, you would not have started your business. Burnout manifests slowly, and then speeds up, to the point where you may feel you can’t even get out of bed in the morning. When negative thinking starts to creep in, you may find your creative abilities falter, and you pay less attention to the tasks in front of you. You care less than before, and standards start to slip within your business. You may find yourself apportioning blame to people or circumstances when things go wrong, rather than trying to own and solve problems. You may find yourself battling to lead your team, and your willingness to fight for your business diminishes. Physically, your body starts to react, with interrupted sleeping patterns, sudden weight loss or gain, and your energy levels plummet.
How to Prevent Burnout as a Business Owner
Staving off the onset of burnout is important for you as a business owner. You may have numerous personal strategies for managing your energy levels, to ensure that you’re able to keep going, no matter what. But, safeguarding your business from burnout is vital, so that you can keep growing and building, no matter what. Build your business to be burnout-proof by:
- Building differently – Don’t try to be all things to everyone. Burnout typically takes hold during the start-up phase (the first 3 to 5 years of a business journey), because it’s during this time that a business owner focuses on attracting customers and getting significant cashflow rolling. Because they’re so focused on trying to solve multiple problems, and be all things to everyone, they’re not able to build a solid system of delivery, and every functioning part of the business needs their direction.
- Simplifying – The simpler your business is, the easier it is to manage and grow. Simplifying your business at all levels, reduces the noise you need to contend with daily, and helps you to focus.
- Creating a system of delivery – A reliable, measurable system of delivery that ensures you deliver what your customers need, when they need it, will help to buffer your business against burnout. With the right, well-capacitated, people in place, your business can continue to deliver even when a business owner is battling burnout.
- Getting some help – There’s no shame in asking for help. Culturally and societally, we’re somewhat conditioned to believe that asking for, and receiving, help, is a sign of weakness. In truth, however, asking for help is a sign of strength. Your family may be a source of additional pressure, but your spouse should be able to support you in some way. If you have a business partner, it’s time to ask for their help – they probably saw the signs of burnout in you, long before you did. Map out a plan of growth for your business, and for yourself. Exercise, eat, and sleep well, and try your best to get some perspective, so you can stop burnout from burning you, and your business.