by helen on December 20, 2010

If you run a small business – or even a medium-sized business – there are probably things that keep you awake at night. And I don’t mean your neighbour’s noisy dogs!

I have been self-employed for coming up to eight years now. And although I have a fantastically supportive (and employed!) partner, and we have been concentrating on increasing the number of Kitchens in the world (we have four in our house now ;-)), there’s no getting away from the fact that running your own business is hard work. But also incredibly satisfying, liberating and on occasion lucrative – otherwise why would we do it!

So what keeps me awake at night in terms of worrying about my business?

Questions about whether or not I’m doing a good enough job, should I be finding out more about the type of PR support companies are looking for nowadays, what should I do to promote my service, how will I work on the days when the kids are at home, where will the next contract come from, why hasn’t my press release made it into the paper/onto the radio, what will I do if my laptop stops working as I haven’t done a back-up for ages, why haven’t my invoices been paid, did I post the invoices, etc etc. 

Common causes of insomnia for entrepreneurs include financial stress, cashflow problems, overwhelming workload, people problems and planning.

Fortunately for me some of these are less of a concern than others – for a start, I don’t have any people problems. But as a small business offering support to other small businesses, here are my tips to help you get those all important zzzzs.

  • Be true to your vision – be open to change and opportunity, but don’t compromise your integrity or get side-tracked by greener grass gazing
  • Plan – write a daily to-do list, give yourself targets that are achievable and measurable, review your business goals every quarter
  • Delegate – find and use specialists who know what they’re doing and can take you from 0-60 in record time.
  • Don’t waste time – you might have to wear a lot of hats when you’re an entrepreneur but it can be costly doing something yourself when in the long-run it makes more sense to outsource certain activities. Give everything a go, but don’t be afraid to admit you need help.
  • Be nice – treat staff with respect, suppliers with empathy and clients with the same kind of enthusiasm you’d treat your own business. (Thanks to Kari Owers for this one – read other advice by Kari, a leading PR in the NE, here.)

According to The Mirror , Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden says that restless legs are the only thing that keep her awake at night – is that what we all have to look forward to once we’ve made our millions?

What’s keeping you awake at night and what tips do you have to help us all enter the land of nod? Comment below or join the discussion at Facebook here

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