Recently, I had a client approach me who was concerned about all the awful things that might affect her and her company. Her goal was to change her current response of stressing out to the point of inaction and shift her focus to developing more solutions.
It was a great start that she recognized the issue. However, she was facing challenges in finding solutions that would take help her move forward. Thankfully, she was able to find ways to handle the stress by developing processes and guides to avoid and resolve problems.
Finding A Strategy for Developing Solutions
A simple strategy to develop solutions to stress is to avoid it by developing enabling structures and processes. It is crucial that you have flexibility automatically built into your response system. In other words, expect that you will become stressed along the way and know how to respond when it happens. Emergency response groups are examples of building stress solutions into their programs.
As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Here are 10 ways to reduce stress by changing your processes.
1. Learn to prioritize
Once you’re able to determine what is working and what is failing, it’s time to determine how you can devote more resources to the success of your business in the right areas. Sometimes our fear of change inhibits our ability to understand that opportunities and not challenges have the most potential. Realizing that Rome wasn’t built in a day is an extremely important aspect to this process.
2. Know your customer
Know what each member of your audience expects from you. Who is your target audience and what do they really want? For example, a busy mother has different wants and needs versus a male senior citizen. That’s what I mean by knowing your customer. Also, make it your mantra to focus on making every customer a repeat customer.
3. Make Decisions and Processes Simpler
What is stagnating many of the large, older organizations is tunnel vision. Within these companies, there is still so much red tape that kills innovation and expediency. This type of inefficient organizational model creates a bottleneck for making decisions, requiring too many layers of sign-off before anything can happen.
By contrast, modern, more successful companies have done away with the hierarchy of too many levels of management and have instead adopted a system of collaboration between departments and even other organizations.
4. Don’t be Afraid to Shoot First and Ask Questions Later
How many times have we heard successful business entrepreneurs share their success stories of succeeding after many failed attempts when they made a risky decision under pressure? Resist the urge to overthink your choices. This can be a useful strategy for growing business.
This technique can be employed by all business, yet it is the small business owner who holds the advantage of this strategy. Drew Houston, CEO and Co-Founder of Dropbox once said, “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.”
5. Capitalize on The Shared Economy
The shared economy is growing and providing numerous opportunities. Businesses like Uber and Airbnb aren’t going anywhere any time soon and they’ve paved the way for more and more innovation for small and big businesses alike.
If you’re willing to adjust and educate yourself on how to work with new vendors and stay open to outsourcing when it makes sense, you can be successful. You may surprise yourself by what you can accomplish by embracing new resource alternatives.
6. Embrace the Internet
Google, Facebook, and Amazon affect almost every business and must be considered for their roles as a supplier, customer, vendor, and information sources. The cloud and analytics are providing numerous tools to better manage and develop more profitable businesses.
7. Be Crazy Enough to Change
You have to give emerging business trends more than just a passing thought or else you may very well go out of business or at least miss out on opportunities for growth. We must consider multiple and dynamic alternatives, goals and methods. For example, setting goals that incorporate profit versus growth can change radically based on the phase, environment, or business conditions.
Bill Gates once said: “People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” Keep this in your brain and you’ll be on the right track.
8. Make Technology, AI and Analytics part of your Strategy
These are no longer just considerations for the tech bros and big companies. There are great tools available for small businesses in areas like file management, sales force management and the cloud to improve your effectiveness and reduce costs. Don’t be afraid to outsource these services.
Artificial Intelligence can be used even in moderation to develop new models and alternatives as technology improves. Of course, it still must be managed. For example, when exceptions happen in automated solutions like customer service or airport delays, human backup must be available.
9. Take more risks
When it comes to responding to today’s challenges, it is a time to let go rather than hold back. People are generally averse to taking risks, especially if it involves changing the way you do business.
Companies are slow to acknowledge that we live in era of low interest rates, low inflation, and reasonable growth. Thus, many companies face much better investment opportunities than in recent years.
Wayne Gretzky was absolutely right when he said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Similarly, one factor in the Eagles winning the 2018 Super Bowl was the coaches’ willingness to take risks rather than play safe like most teams do when they’re in the lead.
10. Keep it simple with the 80—20 rule
By far, the 80-20 rule is the simplest and best tool I use with clients. It has been proven time and time again that 80% of your sales and products will result from 20% of your offerings. Therefore, it stands to reason to stock up on your best sellers and ditch the losers.
11 (Bonus). Have Fun
Overall, the most important thing to keep in mind to reduce stress is to have fun. You started your business because you had passion. Don’t lose that. If you’re truly happy doing what you’re doing, your customers will want to buy into it. They will feed off of your excitement!
Reflect on that for more than a moment. Owning your own business affords you the opportunity do the things that only you have been keeping yourself from.
Want some one-on-one time with someone who’s been there, done that, etc? Contact me. I’d love to speak with you about prioritizing and executing some of these ideas.
Dr. Bert Shlensky, president of Startup Connection( www.startupconection.net ) is a graduate of Sloan School of Management at M.I.T. He served as the president of WestPoint Pepperell’s apparel fabrics business & President and CEO of Sure Fit Products. Having provided counseling to over 2,000 clients, he focuses on working with select start up and small businesses.