Business owners often have to find ways to perform well and work efficiently under conditions of immense pressure, heavy workloads and stress. When tasks keep on piling up and you're faced with many demands and questions, whether from customers, employees or investors, it can be difficult to keep a cool head.
These seven entrepreneurs offer their best strategies for dealing with the pressures of business management so that you can remain calm and perform at optimum capacity -- even when feeling overwhelmed.
Know how to prioritize.
"Running a successful business comes with a lot challenges and the pressure to meet many objectives, but the one way that I ensure I can meet all deadlines is to prioritize my schedule and the tasks at hand," explains Kristin Kimberly Marquet, founder and creative director of Creative Development Agency, LLC.
According to Marquet, one way to achieve this is to put together a to-do list and keep it close throughout the day: "I keep a handwritten to-do on my desk to help me stay focused and achieve what needs to be completed. If I can't get something done, then I will outsource or delegate it."
Eat the elephant.
Well, not a real elephant -- this means the biggest issue an entrepreneur is faced with every day, according to Brian Samson, co-founder of True North. This kind of prioritization is hard and requires strong discipline.
"The easier choice is to check my phone, respond to emails and knock out trivial stuff," Samson explains. However, "my energy level is highest early in the day and solving big problems, such as strategy, cash flow or client proposals, builds tremendous momentum for the second half of the day."
Change your perspective.
Shifting a negative perspective into a positive one could be the solution to dealing with high amounts of pressure, thinks Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance.
"Think of the activity or situation as fun, because a lot of times it is. Being under pressure in certain instances can actually be exhilarating," he says. Along the same lines, visualizing a positive outcome can help. "Both of these strategies have worked for me numerous times in the past when I've been under the gun," Schrage reveals.
Keep smiling and laughing.
Even if it seems counterintuitive, making light of the situation can help relieve the pressure for both you as a business owner and the people around you.
Hostt Co-founder Peter Daisyme explains: "I remind myself not to let the pressure get to me. The best way to do this is to keep smiling and laughing. It sounds simple, but it's these actions that stop me from focusing on the things I can't control and remind me of what I'm doing this all for. It also helps others around me to feel less pressure."
Go for a walk.
"I've always found that a quick solo walk around the block, without my phone, is a great way to decompress," says Justin Lefkovitch, founder of Mirrored Media.
According to Lefkovitch, it's important to keep a level head as an entrepreneur: "When the pressure bears down on you, it's wise to take a step back. My beautiful Santa Monica neighborhood provides a relaxing atmosphere for me to reset and clear my head."
Don't abandon your process.
Another key strategy when faced with inevitable periods of stress is to stick to your process and proven success strategies, says BLASTmedia President Lindsey Groepper.
"When I returned from maternity leave, five of our clients had been acquired -- great for our clients, but bad for our PR agency's bottom line. Rather than panic, discount prices and go rogue, I remained calm, followed my process and held firm to our value proposition and pricing. The revenue came back quickly," she explains.
Trusting yourself and your abilities is arguably one of the most important strategies you can implement, thinks Bryce Welker, CEO of the Accounting Institute for Success.
"If you've made it this far, chances are that you've developed a process and gathered a team that is capable of accomplishing incredible tasks. What's helped me stay calm and collected in the face of considerable pressure is the knowledge that I have handled similarly intense events in the past, that I am capable of handling them in the present, and that worrying won't change a thing," he concludes.