A woman working on her laptop in a dark room

Sometimes Oftentimes, it is tough as a Small Business Owner to consider your own state of mind and do what is best for yourself. I’ve been building a business for about two years now, and I’ve gone through many different tactics to stay sane. I’ve listed a few below as you may find them useful. If you enjoy the content, please do share with your friends and subscribe to our newsletter for more great content.

01. Make to-don’t lists

You’ve heard of the to-do list, in fact if you’re like me you have dozens of them all over the place. But have you heard of the to-don’t list? These lists are a way of taking the tasks floating around your head and making them tangible (and ignorable). At any one time, you may have hundreds of tasks on your mind. Knowing which of those tasks don’t need doing is just as important as knowing the ones that do.

02. Delegate & Automate

Time is your most limited resource – and once you’ve spent it you can’t get it back. In order to spend your time more wisely, you need to delegate the stuff you aren’t good at. Now this might sound daunting, but the best place to start is to create a skills matrix for you and your team. This will let you visualise who is best suited for each task, and allow you to allocate your resources more effectively.

03. Take some time out

In the past few years, I’ve often found myself working 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. I found it hard to take a break from ‘work’ as I felt that I wasn’t reaching my goals. Eventually (and slowly) I learned that I worked better when I dedicated less time to work and more time to socialising and just doing nothing. In fact, I think my most impactful ideas come not in the office, but just as I’m drifting off to sleep.

04. Build your network – not just for sales

Everyone knows that building a great network is brilliant for making sales and growing your customer base. However, building a network is also a great way for you to resolve problems that you may not have come across before. No matter how corporate the business world can seem, every other person has had to struggle and solve problems. Networking is a great way of sharing knowledge and supporting business owners.

05. Get a mentor or a coach

Similar to the last point, business coaches and mentors are a brilliant resource for learning and solving issues. Even if you have many years of experience in business, a good business coach will know things that you haven’t even considered. Check out this post for information on how to select a business coach.

06. Keep on top of cashflow

No matter what people say, cash is the essential ingredient in any business. If you are finding yourself unable to pay payments, it might be necessary to review where money is going and what can be saved. If you have clients that regularly have overdue invoices, try enforcing your payment terms more strictly, or try taking payments upfront. It can be hard a small company to enforce your payment terms on big companies, so this must be discussed upfront.

07. Have a regular clean-up (of everything)

If you are like me, you might find yourself regularly getting distracted by small things being out of place or untidy. This doesn’t just apply to your desk or your office, but also to your inbox, your hard drive, your routine and every other aspect of your life. Maybe you’re not like me, but I still think it’s a great idea to have a clean-up and refresh every so often to get a fresh perspective.

08. Don’t try to beat all of your competitors

This is something I see very often – a small business trying to out-manoeuvre every competitor at the same time. Not only will it not work, but it’ll also drain your resources very quickly. Instead of spreading your attention, shift your focus and strategise to get the highest priority stuff done. This applies mostly to marketing (surprise), but it can also make sense for a lot of other areas.

09. Keep learning

This is a big one, and something that is being embraced more and more over time. As the owner of a small business in the 21st century, you need to be learning all of the time. If you stay still, your competitors will move forward without you. There’s no excuse not to keep learning, as everything is online. If you don’t have the time, then follow my earlier tip and delegate the less difficult work to somebody else. A great resource for quick learning on business and marketing is Google’s Primer app.

10. Outsource what you can’t delegate

Delegation is great, but sometimes you don’t have a team with a diverse enough skillset to cover every aspect of Finance, HR, Admin, Operations, Marketing, Sales and Legal. In that case, it’s a great idea to outsource what you can’t handle in house. I think that the key thing to outsource for a small company is marketing, as it is essential to growing your business. If you happen to need a digital marketing agency that can meet your business goals, you know where to find one!