Dream Gates

Being an entrepreneur has become glamorized in our new high tech era of Silicon Valley startups like Facebook, Google and Apple. But the reality of owning a business is starkly different than what most people think.

In fact, owning your own business is one of the most stressful things you can embark on in life. Its more than just a job or a career. Being a business owner can take over your entire life.

Stress isn’t just about having a better lifestyle, although that should also be a top priority for you. It can also have significant impacts on your business and productivity.

Here are some helpful ways to reduce stress where you can as a business owner. These tactics ubiquitous no matter if you own a fancy tech startup in California or a retail gift store on Main Street.

Cash is King
The number one reason most businesses fail is that they run out of cash. Even businesses that are profitable with growing sales can easily slip into bankruptcy because they don’t manage their cash flow well.

The best way to navigate economic downturns, be able to invest in growth opportunities and stay in business through the many inflection points of any venture, is to maintain a healthy level of cash.

What keeps many business owners at night is how they’re going to pay their creditors, buy inventory for the next cycle, and how they’re going to make payroll at the end of the week. Those are all cash problems. Learn how to manage cash flow and you will significantly reduce a major cause of stress for most businesses.

Hire Well
One of the biggest costs to any business is not hiring well. In fact, a recent study suggested losing an employee can cost anywhere from 16-21% of the employee’s annual salary.

That means if you hire a full-time employee for your retail shop and they make $25,000 a year, it would cost you $4,000 to lose that person. There is a high cost to turnover in our economy.

One of the best ways to not lose employees is to hire them well to begin with. Every business owner should have a standard hiring practice that includes triggers for potential red flags.

For example, if you own a retail store, construction company or any other business that employs any kind of labor, you should consider including a drug test as a standard hiring practice.

Serhat Pala, the resident drug testing expert at Test Country, says urine drug tests are still the most popular. That is because it’s noninvasive like getting a blood test. It’s also super cheap and easy to administer.

Even a simple process like a drug test would eliminate an entire pool of potential bad hires, saving you thousands of dollars in employee turnover costs. It would also considerably reduce the potential liabilities of having a drug addict work in your organization.

There are a host of other ways to hire well, including getting referrals from quality employees, a candidate’s longevity and loyalty to previous employers and including a trial period where an employee has to prove himself to keep the position. These simple steps can alleviate people management stress quite considerably.

Take Time Off
For most business owners, this is much easier said than done. Most owners work 16-hour days, 7-days a week. This is especially true in the retail industry.  One of the biggest factors of stress is lack of rest, lack of sleep and lack of taking recreational time. A simple day off each week can do wonders for your sleep, and your productivity.  It doesn’t even need to be an entire day, if that is too much of a stretch for you. Take baby steps in taking rest.

Recent research has shown that even small breaks can have an enormous impact on your stress levels and your productivity. Merely things like taking a walk, napping, or sleeping a full night, can have a significant impact on your stress, productivity and ultimately, your business.