Career Employment Strategies

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Small Business Stress Management - Worry Creatively About Money

Only fools and dead people have no worries. Human nature being what it is, all of us worry about money. We worry about money when we have too little, when we have enough and when we have extra. But not everyone worries equally.

Those who worry well about money are relatively stress free when it comes to money management, no matter whether the concerns are about too little money or how to best manage adequate and surplus funds. Those who do not know how to worry about money are nervous wrecks and consider finances to be a headache producer.

I suggest three rules of thumb about how to handle the financial concerns that go with every business and that are usually pressing concerns with small businesses.

First: organize the worries. Financial matters fall into a very few categories such as cash flow, debt management, credit development, receivables, taxes and asset management. Each have their own considerations and need to be well-organized, carefully filed and accurately tracked. For example, with cash flow it is important to have cash on hand to meet daily expenses and payrolls. With credit is is important to develop lines of credit, the longer the better. But aside from writing legibly and making careful notes and entries, none of these money matters merit non-stop attention.

Translating the worries into organized tasks that can be accomplished is a way of acting on the worries instead of worrying. If organizing the worries into action is step one, then step two becomes scheduling the dates on which the actions occur. Change the worry to action, schedule the action, and live worry-free during the interim.

Second: schedule the tasks and do them faithfully at the proper times. Get the taxes done on time. Be sure to make payroll on time every time. Organize debt payments to be automatically deducted or do them manually on the same date each month. It might be that the various tasks related to financial management of the business require a total number of hours each month equal to less than one work day! By organizing and scheduling the financial tasks a new perspective becomes possible: financial management of the business is not a big headache, just a collection of routine tasks!

Third: worry about the finances on purpose. Remember, we are all humans. It is human to worry. The manager of a small business and indeed of any-sized business will worry about finances, no matter how well-organized and efficient the company's management of financial tasks and policies. The goal is to be worry free in between the tasks you have organized. But the human mind does not always adhere to schedules.

Ridiculous as it may seem, commit yourself to worry on purpose when you "feel it coming on." Just be sure the worry session has a beginning and end before you get into the worrying. Keep it short: ten minutes is far more than enough to worry yourself sick and get it out of your system. This is a different approach than being half-worried or a little worried or stuffing down the worry.

Nagging worries simply produce a sense of unease. By comparison, an all-out bone-rattling worry acts like a strong storm: it clears the atmosphere so calm can return. Venting out fears, worries and anxiety is a cleansing antidote as old as human nature. Use it as often as needed. It won't let you down.

Managing a small business brings with it plenty of financial problems and challenges. It is human nature to sit up and take notice of financial problems. Just remember, they never really go away, they only mutate. Managing worry is the best approach: organize the worries, turn them into tasks and schedule the tasks. When you need to worry do it with abandon. The rest of the time enjoy successfully managing the financial aspects of your business!

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