Statistics from the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman show that 97 per cent of Australia’s economy is made up of small business with no more than twenty employees. Yet more than 60 per cent of these fail within their first three years, and the odds are stacked against those that continue. Small businesses are struggling.
Spiralling overheads and payroll costs, working up to 80 hours per week, and struggling with cash flow are all too common amongst us.
These challenges are compounded when you aren’t big enough to afford dedicated HR support and you don’t have systems or processes in place to deal with everything you’re required by law to do, like strategic plans for KPIs and work health safety regulations.
Yet we rarely hear stories about lack of support or mental health problems, which research reports over one-third of people are reluctant to reveal.
Workplaces of all sizes are impacted by poor mental health, with evidence suggesting psychological distress is most acute for sole traders.
What to do?
There are 3 key elements you need to address to make sure you have a sustainable business, no matter what size you are or how many staff you have.
- Be aware of what’s going on
If you aren’t aware of yourself, how can you effectively lead yourself? If you’re not effectively leading yourself, then how can you effectively lead others?
This begins by gaining awareness of the thoughts, beliefs and values that drive your decisions, behaviours and actions. What are your motivators, passions and goals in life? How do you respond to triggers, stressors and difficult situations?
It is important to achieve clarity about why we do what we do in our business and in our lives. If we have a clear vision of purpose and meaning, we are more likely to maintain our growth mindset, negotiate challenges and make good choices.
Identifying areas for growth, then connecting with the right professionals to fill those gaps will accelerate your success, as well as continuously maintain your health and happiness.
- Cultivate a growth mindset
The way you think has a ripple effect in every aspect of your life. Limiting thoughts and limiting beliefs about yourself and your capabilities restrict your progress and success.
Hence, cultivating a growth mindset could be the single most important thing you ever do to help you achieve success.
As Carol Dweck explains in Mindset: The New Psychology of Success: The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset.
This means seeing and embracing failures are opportunities for growth, as lessons to be learned and applied. This is what will help you navigate the season, the hide and low tides, that always come with running your own show.
- Maintain your stamina
Running your own small business is a 24/7 activity, which is why you need to be mentally healthy, fit and strong.
There will always be pressure: it will never go away. There will always be setbacks, failures, and obstacles. What counts is how you deal with that pressure, with those setbacks and obstacles. It’s essential to move away from simply reacting to events and toward responding to events.
Making conscious choices each day about what to eat, when to exercise, and how to switch off from work and on for home is the recipe for success and stamina in business.
Your awareness, mindset and stamina are like three cogs in a machine. They must be connected and coordinated to work smoothly and effectively together.
Maintaining and sustaining this takes real work, and one thing is certain: the only person who can do it is YOU. Your mental health, wellbeing and happiness are key to your success and your future.