Starting your own business is one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do. Granted, it will also be one of the most rewarding but in order reap the benefits, you’ll first have to find ways to overcome the stress.

What’s the easiest way to reduce business stress? Have a plan, take advice and ‘don’t sweat about the small stuff’, everything else will follow.

Looking for a bit more information? Read on for my top five tips for a successful business start-up.

  1. Have a plan. All good businesses started with a great idea, but even more potentially amazing businesses have failed because the brains behind them worked on a wing and a prayer. It’s completely understandable; when you come up with what you think could make your fortune, to want to just roll your sleeves up and get stuck in, but the problem with that is that you’re getting stuck in to… nothing. Building a business is a bit like building a house: you wouldn’t just pick up a couple of planks and start nailing them together, with the hope that the rest will successfully follow. You need to start with a design, an architect and an action plan before you can even lay the foundations. To do it in any other order is pure folly. When you’re building anything, details matter. No, you shouldn’t sweat about the small stuff – like an unexpected delay or knock-back – but you do need to know the details of every part of your business plan, because then you know exactly what you’re working towards and where you have to go next in order to reach your goals.
  2. I’ve probably already made this clear, but starting a business isn’t easy. In fact, it’s anything but. You will face knock-backs, disappointments and frustrations almost without end, but if you believe in what you’re doing, you really can make a success of it. If you give up, one of two things will happen. A) You’ll spend the rest of your life wondering about the big ‘what if’. B) Someone else will do it instead, and you’ll spend the rest of your life in bitterness, wondering about the big ‘what if’.
  3. Learn from your mistakes. As the great Bill Gates once said, ‘success is a lousy teacher.’ Success in business is a wonderful thing, and it’s what we all work towards, but it doesn’t teach you anything. Your failures, on the other hand, can be a gold mine of important lessons. When things go wrong, don’t just throw your hands in the air and walk away; sit and pick through the bones and ashes; that way positive experiences lay and you’ll be stronger and smarter for the effort.
  4. Push through your comfort zone. If you’re completely comfortable in what you’re doing, safe to say that you’re probably not doing enough. As Marissa Mayer (Yahoo! CEO) says, it’s when you push through the moments of ‘wow, I’m really not sure that I can do this,’ that you’ll make your greatest developments. Contrary to popular belief, business isn’t – or needn’t be – all about risk; you don’t need to gamble all that you’ve got, but if you’re willing to push your personal boundaries, you’ll be surprised by the depths of your own resources. And once you’ve seen just exactly what you’re capable of, you’ll realise that you don’t need to worry… At least not quite as much as you have been doing.
  5. Communication is a two-way process, so you need to learn how to listen, and also how to express yourself concisely and efficiently. Listening brings obvious benefits; it helps you to learn from those who have been there before you, or those who may have skills that you need but are yet to develop. It also helps you to learn what your prospective clients are looking for, what gaps you can fill, where you can improve, and how you can make your business unique. In talking to others, you need to learn how to ask for help. You also need to be able to communicate your needs to your staff, find ways to ask questions that will efficiently gain you the information that you need, and in the long run, to give your brand a voice. Build a network of business contacts, and chat. No one wants to waste time in idle conversation when they’ve such a lot of work to do, but it’s in listening and talking to others that you could find the success that you need.
Starting a business from scratch will always take effort and always involve disappointment, but if you follow these tips, you might just find that your path has slightly fewer potholes in it.

By Xenios Thrasyvoulou of PeoplePerHour