Last week I looked at people who are contemplating starting a small business. This week I'm looking at those who are new in small business. What an exciting time for you. Things are moving fast, the customers are arriving and you're OVERWHELMED. Most people in your position feel the same way, but surely that brings little comfort. As if you're not busy enough, there are two other things you should be aware of: 1) how you react to this feeling of overwhelm and 2) how you respond to it. Both are correlated to the continuing success of your business. It may seem straight forward- if I fall apart and fail to act accordingly I'm going nowhere. True enough, but it goes a lot deeper than that and you and your business are best served if you take the time to understand it.
Oh Me Oh My
Overwhelmed may be an understatement. When you start a business there's A LOT going on and even though you know you can't do it all, you feel as if you must. Whoever said starting and maintaining a business is hard work was not kidding.
It may surprise you that you're feeling as if you're adrift on the sea without a rudder or motor, but starting a business is unlike anything you've done before. Your reaction is as much a response to the unknown as it's a response to all that's going on. The EXTENT to which you react however, is another matter. It's OK to react but if you’re screaming, scrambling and grasping at straws as you try to adapt? That's another story.
If you find yourself in the latter camp you stand the risk of alienating your employees, customers and colleagues. Moreover, you have learned a vital lesson about yourself. Shape up or look for another line of work because it won't get easier.
Your Feelings Matter
Your reaction to the events that surround a business launch are spontaneous. You have no control over their occurrence but you must take charge of them.
Managing your feeling of overwhelm is a priority, more so than managing the source of these feelings. In order to work effectively, you must be able to commit yourself to the task without the burden of overwhelm. It's critical that you make a conscious and deliberate effort to understand these feelings, what gave rise to them and how to manage them. Otherwise your response isn't likely to be well thought out or effective. Once this is done you can begin to formulate your response.
Deal With It
The manner in which you respond to overwhelm is unique to your circumstances, but the array of resources available to you is abundant. Most importantly recognize that doing it alone is not possible. Many of us are very skilled but none of us have EVERYTHING. Even if we did, we'd never have the time to employ and execute each of those skills.
Begin with those close to you- employees, friends, family and the like. Often times the very resources you need are right there in front of you. If you have a need and you can articulate it, ASK!
Some solutions cost money and if it's a solution you need then make the investment. Failure to do so now may leave you with nothing to show later. But don't forget to be creative. There are things I need that you have and vice versa. Bartering is not dead, in fact it's a viable and mutually rewarding way to provide solutions as well as to strengthen existing relationships and build new ones.
Overwhelm is powerful and left unchecked it will control you and your new business. Don't let it sneak up on you. Be vigilant and when it begins be quick to acknowledge it as well as your reaction to it. Once you have your emotional response in check, takes steps to respond in an effective manner. You can make it; remember, you don't have to do it alone.