As business owners, we work hard to ensure the success of our businesses. I’ve often said that an entrepreneur is the only job where someone will work 80 hours so that they don’t have to work 40 hours for someone else. It really is a labor of love. So, why are business owners so stressed out all the time? In today’s post, I want to look at some of the things that cause business owners to stress and how we can stop stressing.
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While researching today’s topic, I happened upon a recent survey conducted by SurePayroll. It found that, behind the economy, cash flow and tax regulations were at the top of the list of things causing small business owners stress. Similarly, a study cited by the NY Post found that small business owners often worried about time management.
Folks, there is very little (realistically, nothing) that we, as business owners, can do to control the economy. However, we can address the other key stressors that business owners face. So, let’s really dig into cash flow, tax regulations, and time management to uncover why they make us stress out and how you can minimize their impact.
Cash flow is a genuine concern for small business owners. In fact, 82% of failed small businesses blame poor cash flow or cash flow mismanagement as the primary cause of their failure. Without proper cash flow, it becomes challenging to carry on the daily operation of your business. When your cash flow becomes limited due to a slow business cycle or poor management, it tends to compound your everyday stresses.
So, how do you avoid some of the cash flow problems that cause so many business owners stress? You might find it helpful to know and understand the mistakes that others have made before you. In my experience, the most common cash flow problems that afflict small businesses are as follows…
These are common problems with easy solutions. By tempering your expectations, you can plan for a slow path to profitability. If you become profitable sooner than expected, fantastic! But if you don’t, you’ll have a plan in place to carry you until you do. Likewise, being reasonable with your overhead costs can remove some of the stress you’re carrying around and help you become profitable sooner. Finally, making sure that you’re just as efficient with your receivables as you are at filling orders can create a more regular stream of income. Thus, you’re less likely to stress over your cash flow situation.
In my experience, some of the most stressful things that business owners encounter are the ones that we have no control over. Taxes is one of the areas that many business owners stress over, and it’s because they feel that they have no control over the issue. Unless we want to go to jail, we all must pay our taxes. Now, I have yet to meet a business owner that didn’t want to pay their taxes, but no one has wanted to pay more than they absolutely had to.
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This is where a great CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and a forward-thinking CPA come into play. You’ll need to be fastidious in your record-keeping, but have your CPA provide you with a monthly auditive financial statement. This way, you’ll know exactly where you stand from a tax perspective. This will also enable your CFP® and your CPA to create tax plans and strategies to ensure that you only pay what you absolutely have to.
Additionally, you’ll want to meet with your tax planners in November and December to begin working on your taxes. Please don’t wait until March or April because it will be too late for the tax planning to work by then. So, as you can see, you have a lot more control over tax regulations than you may have thought.
With all that business owners are responsible for, we work extremely long hours. Most of us are never truly “off of work.” You’re always thinking of meetings, projects, plans, employees, and any number of other work-related issues that you need to take care of or keep up with. As a result, you often have to go away to getaway. For me, this means I spend a lot of time in the woods, where my cell phone doesn’t work. If I don’t do that, inevitably, I feel that I should be working.
All of this can leave you feeling overwhelmed. With so many things that “must” be done, it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day. These time pressures lead to stress and can be damaging to your overall sense of well-being. So, how do you deal with the things that cause you so much stress? What steps can you take in your business to ensure that you continue to love what you do and that your dream of being a business owner doesn’t become a nightmare?
To avoid the damaging effects of time pressures and the various ways they cause business owners stress, you need to remember 5 key techniques. These techniques can help slow things down and put them into perspective, allowing you to become more efficient.
I know it’s a bit cliché to say this, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Likewise, your business won’t be built in a day. It’s a battle. You have to go to work if you want to succeed, and you have to grind. I was recently speaking to a very seasoned (20+ years) business owner. He had been through many difficult times, legal battles, tax audits, economic downturns, etc. Even after enduring all of these trials, he looked at me and said, “I am blessed.”
He said this because he had the opportunity to get up that morning and run his business. You see, he understands that Rome wasn’t built in a day. He knows that there will be good days and bad ones, but his business is a journey that is meant to be enjoyed. So, my friends, remember, a seasoned sailor is never crafted in calm seas.
Look, life is hard. I get it. But life is good. Dealing with things like cash flow, tax regulations, and time management can be frustrating. But they don’t have to be. By taking a pause and following the tips I outlined above, we can reduce business ownership stress, at least financially simple!
Have the everyday stresses of life as a business owner caught up to you? Do you need help with tax planning or cash flow management? Schedule a meeting with us. The Financially Simple team is always available to take some of the burdens off of your shoulders!