How Business Owners Set Themselves Up For Burnout

I was tired.

I could see all the things that were wrong and very few of the many things that were right in my business.

Like most small business owners I had worked my tail off building our business. In fact, we hit just under a million in revenue in three years. Not bad considering less than 5% of all businesses ever reach that milestone.

I was ready to quit because I was tired. I was burning out. Eventually I found a way out and enjoyed better times, but at that moment I was done.

As a business coach I see so many situations in the lives of owners. My story above is not unique. It’s very common. Most owners beat their chests and try to look good, but the truth is that most are headed toward burnout.

Here are a few reasons are setting themselves up for a crash and burn situation. Get your head right about these and avoid the common situation.

Not Thinking Profitably

I remember saying several times as a business owner, “Everyone is getting paid but me.” We paid the people, the vendors and the overhead. We paid for the loans and the credit line. I wasn’t making enough money.

If you are not feeling good about you’re the direction of your finances it will add more stress and in turn you won’t be your best for the business.

Burnout happens because we can’t handle getting kicked in the stones for very long without growing weary and crying ‘uncle.’ Not making money is like getting kicked down below and is painful.

Here’s a ‘think profitably’ checklist to get you started:

  • Get your head right and stop lying to yourself about how hard it is to make a profit. It can be done if you want it bad enough.
  • Provide a profit worthy experience.
  • Get your math in order and know it better than anyone in the world. Step up and know your numbers.
  • Allow the data to guide your decisions. That means if you don’t have money left after all expenses each month you need to call a timeout and make changes. If you need to raise prices do it. If you need to cut expenses do it. See how light you can run.

Don’t get caught up in how much revenue you do. Instead, set profitability goals.

Wearing Too Many Hats

I hate that cliché. What it really means is that you’re doing too much shit and something is going to suffer.

You cannot do everything. You should not do everything. Every decision does not and should not have to run through you.

Find good people and pay them better than anyone else. Then, expect them to deliver. If they don’t, then find new people. It’s a simple ‘if…then’ formula.

Believe it or not you are not the only person in the world in your industry that is capable of being awesome at what you do. There are thousands of people right now who can help you lighten the load. You can find a few.

Tips to stop wearing too stop doing so much shit:

  • Again, get your head right. Stop trying to be Superman. Get out of your own way and build a team.
  • Create the document ‘The ‘Name of Company’ Way.” This is just a way our formalizing ‘this is how we do things here.’
  • Write a Job Description for each role in the business.
  • Fill the position and train the person. I didn’t say “Go over the Job Description with them and cut them loose.” I said train them. Use the Know, Show, Do, Review & Teach method. The sooner your people begin to think like you the better.

Protect your time and work on your high impact stuff early in the day.

Repeating the Insanity

Burnout happens when you don’t focus on making a profit while you’re doing too much stuff.

You’re not stupid and already know that you need to make more money and do less. The problem is most owners don’t do anything about it.

Want to change? Then, find some urgency. Like you would looking for water if you had a flaming arrow in your eye.

Stop repeating the stupid and build a strong business, not a mediocre one.

Remember why you wanted to own your own business? You wanted freedom and more money. Low profits and ‘wearing too many hats’ is the fastest way to being a slave.

Mediocrity dies today.