The Small Business Challenge Series: Week 3 Fatigue

Over a 5-week period I am going to talk about a range of challenges facing many small to medium businesses and we will also touch on what they can do about it. How they can plan a strategy to overcome it.

I will say at the start of this that I am also available to help anyone with these challenges and we can set up some time to focus on you and your business and see how I can help you.

This is the 3rd week of the series and I am going to look at an area that is rarely discussed but has such a profound impact on the day to day lives of everyone involved in the business and potentially their friends and family as well and that is Fatigue.

Fatigue is simply the condition you are in resulting from lack of sleep, tiredness or weariness. Mostly this will be from changing sleep patterns, prolonged stress at work, work patterns not conducive with sleep or where stress or anxiety is having an impact on you or the team, linked to work.

Fatigue can be a real worry for Entrepreneurs and Business owners, it creeps up on you and it can have a real impact on your thinking, reduced attention to detail, negative impact on decision making and can lead to mistakes or losses. It can even lead people to being rash in their approach to everyday challenges and sometimes to even shut down.

The hours worked, the work itself, lack of delegation, constant pressure to deliver for demanding customers can be a heavy burden to handle.

A few contributors to fatigue are topics we have discussed previously in this series, so please look back at those as they can help ease stress in particular areas and support positive action.

Limited customer base or customer concentration risk

Financial Management

The leaders almost always feel they can’t leave the business, and in some cases that may be true if they run solo, but in most cases, it is just fear and that is something that we can work on.

So over and above the 2 links above we also have

Fear

The Business Rhythm as well as the key persons rhythm.

When looking at Fear generally, it can become crippling for Entrepreneurs and business owners. The best way to understand most challenges like this are to try and break down what the fear is that you are experiencing and whilst there may be more than one, you should take each and try and see how you can build on your fear and overcome it. After all fear is not always a negative if we use fear properly.

So, for example, as a business owner you may be fearful of failure, worried about rejection, concerned about uncertainty of the business survival, or even something I have touched on before which is Imposter Syndrome.

For me over the years, the ways I have overcome fears like these is simply to:

  • Understand my own emotional intelligence and challenge myself to develop this as a key form of improving myself and alleviating self-doubt
  • Get a Coach or Mentor – spend time with people that can really help you see the reality of the situation and help you bring some focus
  • Embrace your strengths – some people go as far as having affirmations, journaling to remember the moments and the successes and these techniques can certainly work
  • Look at the fears you have, define them and start to overcome them with rational thought. For example, if you have a fear of failure, then revisit your plans, consider your actions, your products and services. Bringing a positive mindset is a key to overcoming fear. Every fear can be mitigated by identifying the reason behind it and then taking action accordingly to mitigate it. Often, we get stuck in our own head when it comes to fear so thinking more broadly, seeing things for what they are and looking down at a problem are all good techniques to manage fear.

Considering the Business Rhythm is also very important.  I always consider these points:

  1. Work patterns – You need to ensure that every one of the team, including yourself, has appropriate levels of work, the right levels of knowledge to complete the work and the breaks to allow them to replenish their power to continue the work. These breaks allow for managing of hunger and dehydration in its simplest form, but also consider shifts and work patterns here to ensure rest and recovery for yourself and every staff member.
  2. Work environment – Make sure that the workplace is conducive to the work you are doing, for example: is the lighting correct, is the flow of air good enough, does the office have suitable catering and toilet facilities. If the work itself is of a repetitive nature, how can you support that and keep the outputs as high a quality, as consistently, as possible.
  3. Leaders’ daily rhythm – As the boss it is so important that you lead by example, have a great rhythm to your day, make sure that you do such tasks well as planning, reflecting on progress, staff morale, goal attainment and also time in to ensure the business drivers are in place and being achieved.
  4. This forth one may seem instinctive, but I can promise you it is not in all leaders, but talk to your team, find out how they are feeling and find out what you could do to make their working environment as appealing as possible so that their outputs are delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Fatigue in the working life is a real hazard and one that can be managed and overcome with a good plan. Focussing on the environment, your rhythm as a leader and how you overcome the challenges that cause Fatigue and stress every day are so important in how you start to mitigate fatigue and potentially stress.

So get in touch if I can support you on Business Strategy, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership or any of the topics you have read about in my blogs.

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