When You're In Over Your Head

Juliana Behrens shares some helpful guidelines on avoiding big stresses associated with small businesses. 

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Running a business is a lot harder than some people think. In fact, small business owners work harder and longer than most employees, and they bear all of the responsibility for the successes and failures of their company. It's not something that everyone is able to handle, but even those who can have limits. As wonderful as success may be, it also increases the amount of labor that needs to be done, and there comes a point where new people need to be brought in.

The First

Sign: Stress

Business owners who are no longer capable of handling things on their own tend to experience a sense of overwhelm. They never take time off because they can't take time off, and that eats into their family lives and relaxation time. Everyone needs to be able to turn off sometimes, and people who don't get to do that bottle up negative emotions until they reach a breaking point.

The Second Sign: A Constant Need for Willpower

People occasionally need to push themselves even when they're doing something that they enjoy. That's healthy; everyone only has so much mental and physical energy to devote to tasks, and no one is able to push beyond those limits

indefinitely. There's a careful balance that needs to be struck between calling on willpower to get things done and recharging one's batteries so it isn't necessary to always rely upon it. Someone who is set on doing something will work himself into an early grave if he doesn't change anything.

The Third Sign: Mistakes Become Common

Business owners have to be very competent people in order to succeed. They need to be knowledgeable in math, tax laws, laws that apply specifically to their business, and other things that would make the average person's head spin. However, it doesn't matter how competent someone normally is or needs to be; someone who is running themselves ragged will start making mistakes, and mistakes can get costly. Worse still, when someone is experiencing lots of stress and anxiety, any mistakes just add fuel to the fire.

The Fourth Sign: Depression Sets In

No one can withstand constant stress and strain without eventually caving to hopelessness. Things that once seemed like perfectly reasonable goals become insurmountable, and it takes almost everything that someone has to get out of bed each day. Depression is the fourth horseman of a business apocalypse, and it represents the tipping point. Depression is the marker that indicates that things will either change or something will break, and there's no way to avoid hiring someone if your business is going to stay afloat.

What Needs to be Done

People who are used to working alone may find it difficult to consider changing that. It's not easy to be an effective boss, and it's one more thing that a business owner needs to juggle with everything else. However, there comes a point in time where the hassle of screening for the right people and managing employees is less than the strain that comes with overwork. Boot-strapping business owners may consider it a blow to their pride, but it's ultimately the best possible move.

Hiring a professional accountant or tax helper can make a huge difference for small business owners. Most small business owners don't have the knowledge or experience to take care of these financial matters on their own, which only adds to their general stress. Hiring an accountant can increase your efficiency and reduce your costs by cutting out expensive mistakes.

Many modern businesses are lucky to reach the point where they need to employ staff in order to get things done. It allows business owners to drastically expand their operations and do things they'd never dreamed, and it's a boon for local economies when businesses get far enough along to start employing people. Someone who recovers from overwork should take pride in what they've done; small businesses help a lot of people, and even a simple thing like providing jobs can make a big difference in the larger economy.

About the Author

Juliana Behrens writes about small business finances. If you are a small business owner, you can find accountants to manage your finances and reduce your stress.