Bypass Burnout

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Shop owners are generally divided into three groups.

Some are absent from their companies and have learned that for them, growing a business does not require being 100 percent involved with day to day shop operations.

Others have found that secret balance between working on the business and in it, and can easily separate their personal life from their profession as a business owner.

Then, there are shop owners that live each day deep in the trenches. They live in a constant reactive state and, all too often, end up overwhelmed and exhausted—impeding their shop’s success and personal wellbeing. I call this group the entrenched group and they’re the basis of this article.

The entrenched shop owner’s day is filled with customer, employee and business problems. They’re involved with every component of the business; every sale, and nearly all the decisions that arise on a daily basis, moving from bay to bay, in and out of the customer service area. As time passes, they get deeper and deeper into this reactive style of management and as each fire erupts, they do their best to put them out but the fires dominate their focus and zap them of their energy. Left unchecked, this usually leads to burnout, impacting their performance and the performance of their team. Shop owners in this state struggle to reach the level of success they desire.

Here a few signs that you may part of this group. Do you avoid taking vacation or personal time? Do you feel the need to be at work daily or things just won’t get done? Do you sacrifice family events because you feel that the demands of business are too important? Are you neglecting your personal health? Do you find it impossible to tune out the business while away from work? If you answered yes to even some of these questions, you need to seriously reconsider your business operating style. The great news is that you can turn things around and put the building blocks in place to grow the business you desire.

The key to turning things around first rests with your mindset. Your business does not have to revolve around you alone. It takes a team to run and grow a successful business. You need to assemble the right people around you and commit to bringing out the best in them. As you rely on the strengths of others, it will take away stress and free up time for you to work on your specific tasks as the owner.

Which brings us to the next step. Understand your role as the business owner. This means working on the elements that build a future: your business plan, marketing plan, employee development, understanding your numbers, recruiting the best people. Working on these things won’t bring immediate results, but they do build a solid foundation for the future. And just like building a house, the better the foundation, the stronger the house.

One of the best ways to turn things around is seeking help from a business coach. Coaches can’t do the work for you, but they will hold you accountable and will draw from their experiences to create a pathway for your personal and business success.

But perhaps the most important step is taking care of yourself. Prioritize your wellbeing by getting enough sleep, exercise, eating right, taking time away from the business, and spending time with family and friends. Taking care of yourself replenishes your physical and emotional energy.

You can’t overlook the importance of taking a proactive strategy to running your business. This approach requires letting go of complete control and putting some of that control in the hands of your key employees. Don’t fear that the critical things won’t get done. Letting go actually puts you more in control and when you have your priorities in order, you will actually accomplish more. 

I know far too many shop owners in this group and I’d bet everyone reading this article can relate in some way to that group of entrenched group; myself included. This is the real basis for this article.

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