How to tackle stress as a Small Business Owner – 5 actionable tips

small business owner

As we celebrate Small Business Week across Queensland, we salute and recognise the nearly 1/2 million small business owners across the state who day in, day out, put in the hard yards to keep their dream, passion and our economy alive.

It takes grit and courage to run a small business and as a small business owner, you are often the wearer of many hats – the CEO, CFO, CMO (chief marketing officer), CTO (chief technology officer), CPO (chief people officer) all the O’s rolled into one!  And like many workers, there can be a struggle to successfully combine work, family commitments and personal life.

So, it comes as no surprise, that stress, overwhelm and increasingly burnout are common.  The good news is that looking after yourself and your wellbeing is not only a good investment for you, it is also a good investment for your business, your team and even your customers!

Here we look at 5 tips to help put the brakes on stress and avoid some of the traps of small business ownership that can lead to not coping, working excessive hours, overwhelm and burnout (which has just this week been classified by the World Health Organisation as an occupational phenomenon).

1. You are not alone! Across Australia, there are 2.3 million other Small Business owners out there, just like you!

Being a Small Business owner can be lonely, but you are not alone!  Meeting or talking to other like-minded small business owners is a great opportunity to not only network & possibly collaborate to benefit your business, but also to share common challenges and discuss your wins & achievements.  Check out, google Facebook groups in your area or ask around – there are plenty of options when you start looking.  Online groups can be just as effective as face to face connections.


2. Financial Support – have you considered a Grant or subsidised advisory services?

You mean free money? In some instances, yes!  It is surprising how many small business owners are unaware of the many and varied grants that are available.  Check out local, state and federal government websites for further information to see what could be available for you and your business.  One example to check out is Small Business Advisory – Digital Services for individual support to grow online capabilities such as websites & selling online, social media & digital marketing + more –


3. Audit your own role regularly

It is well documented, that when we are working in our zone of genius, we are more productive, achieve more and help others be more engaged and do better work.  Take stock of the work that you are doing that makes you feel heavy or not your own area of expertise.  Tasks that you procrastinate are often examples of this type of activity. If you can, delegate or outsource so that you can focus on the work that you are best doing and brings you better outcomes for your team and business.


4. Discover a strategy to help manage day to day stress (so that it doesn’t lead to burnout!)

Having strategies or tools in your toolbox during times of emotional challenge and stress, can assist you to deal with those periods more effectively.  Take some time to think about what might help you during those times. Here is a list to get you started:

  • Regular Exercise – it’s a cliché, because it is true. Even an intentional 10-minute walk during the day can help.
  • Simplest trick in the book – learn to breathe! Here is a simple technique –
  • Stay true to your strongest values – if meeting your mate Jim once a month for golf is important, don’t let it slide. If volunteering for your favourite charity is important, keep it up.  Maintain what matters outside of work.
  • Take a break from being digitally connected – turn off your phone and notifications at night.
  • Book in a holiday or longer break – give yourself some time to switch off, be present and regenerate.


5. Get Support

We are better together.  Find a mentor, coach to work with.  A great mentor or coach will work with you, get to know and understand your business and depending on your needs, keep you accountable across a range of areas. There are many programs run by local business groups or councils that may provide access or online programs that connect you and match you with the right person for your stage of business and journey.

If you need more specific support around issues around stress, burnout, anxiety, depression, relationship challenges, book a session with a mental health professional who is trained to support you across these areas.