Franchise owners put a lot into their business. The investment of resources, time, and energy can be tremendous to get your business running and off the ground. After all, you are not just building a team to lead, you are the owner and head of the team. No doubt you take pride in your work. Most franchise owners like to keep tabs on every aspect of the company, an eye over every shoulder and a report for every process. You may also be working with clients, training new team members, and handling your back-end finances and logistics.
Needless to say, running a franchise as a solo act - or even with great managers - can be an insanely stressful experience. This is why burnout is so common among small business owners who try to take it all on at once. Remember, you're not a one-man-band. No franchise owner is an island, your business is a team effort - and you can only do so much fueled by coffee and enthusiasm before you collapse. Let's talk about franchise owner burnout and how you can avoid it.
What is Burnout as a Franchise Owner?
Burnout is when your stress level hits a critical high, then your energy and mental health hit a critical low. You can burnout by working too hard, multi-tasking too much, and by not sleeping enough. Usually, it's a combination task overload, stress, and self-neglect unique to small business owners and other self-made, highly driven professionals.
Symptoms of Burnout:
- Exhaustion - mental and/or physical
- Alienation from work - not feeling connected anymore and self-isolation
- Reduced efficiency - not finishing tasks or your task list
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Inattentiveness and forgetfulness
- Headaches and frequent illness
- Apathy and/or emotional outbursts
- Days blurring together
- Fatalistic thoughts
- Withdrawing from any responsibility - at work or home
- Coping with food or substances
- The desire to skip work or leave early
- Uncharacteristic depression
Watch out for these symptoms in yourself, especially if you have two or more and the onset relates to your time as a business owner. These are signs that you are burning yourself out.
The good news? It's not necessary! There are many ways to reduce your stress and prevent burnout before it happens - or turn back your burnout to embrace your love of the business again.
Delegate to Avoid Work Overload
Delegation means passing on responsibilities to others who you can trust to fulfill the tasks. You need to be able to relax, knowing the tasks will be completed. If you're looking over shoulders and re-doing work after its finished, try again at your delegation strategy.
Hire Trustworthy and Capable People
Start with people you trust to get the job done. Choose your managers and team leaders wisely and get to know new people so you can learn to trust in their work. Hire your team members with care so you can be sure any routine paperwork and daily tasks will get done without your oversight. The more you trust your team, the more you can relax when they're on the job.
Delegate to Your Managers and Team Leaders
Give tasks to your managers and trust them to complete those tasks. Assign them to supervise teams, handle inventory, take care of invoices, and other essential tasks that franchise owners often take onto themselves. Determine what your personal task-list should be and train your managers and team members to take on the rest.
Outsource When Necessary or When Its More Efficient
If your team needs a department or specialist you don't have on-staff, outsource! Often, outsourcing is more efficient for a small business than hiring specialty team members (like on-staff IT) or building an entire department (like HR or financial). Outsourcing gets you all the small business support you need, often at less hassle and a lower price. And if an essential team member gives notice before you can hire their replacement, temporary outsourcing can often cover the gap.
Manage Your Time and Tasks
Don't let the day get away from you. Burnout often happens when a business owner despairs that "everything" will "get done" But what is everything, and what isn't getting done? Intentional time and task management are often credited by todays' successful CEOs and business leaders as part of the secret to their success. So lay it all out and get organized.
Get Organized and Stay Organized
Lay out everything you need to do and the time you have to do it. Determine what you can delegate and refine the list to your tasks only. Now create a visual daily, weekly, monthly, and/or quarterly schedule that displays everything that needs doing and the time you're going to do it. Then stick to your schedule. Don't forget to rebuild your organization every week, month, etc. to stay organized.
Embrace Time-Management Methods
Time management assigns how you'll spend your time each day. It helps you to avoid losing time and identify "where the time goes" when you do fall behind on your schedule. Time management will keep you moving and with a purpose for every hour instead of feeling overwhelmed like there is just too much to do. You know the work amount and have already decided the hours you'll spend on each task.
Take Your Breaks
Don't short yourself on breaks. There's a reason why employees are required to have a lunch half-hour and two 15-minute breaks every day. It's to help avoid stress, burnout, and self-neglect. So treat yourself and your mental health with the same respect as you give your employees. Take your daily breaks. Relax, close your eyes, meditate or sit outside. De-stress a little throughout the day to avoid burning up and burning out.
Take Care of Yourself
Finally, tend to your body and physical health. If your physical health fails, your energy will flag and your mood will plummet which makes burnout much more likely. Don't stress yourself out, get enough sleep, and eat food that actually gives you energy without weighing you down during the day. Treat yourself right and you'll have more energy to take on your business owner responsibilities each day.
Get Enough Sleep & Improve Your Sleep Quality
Don't short-sleep. Most adults need somewhere around 8 hours of sleep a night. You know yourself, you know what is too much and too little sleep for you. Chances are, if you feel at risk of burnout you are either getting not enough sleep or you are sleeping poorly.
Turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary with a fan, blackout curtains, white noise, and minimal LED lights. Then schedule yourself at least 8 hours of shut-eye a night to wake up refreshed with new energy.
Eat for Energy and Nutrition
Eat foods that energize you without making you feel weighed-down or sleepy after. Start your day with whole grains and protein. Eat something balanced for lunch like stir-fry or a simple sandwich and bagel. Drink tea, water, and juice instead of soda. Give your body the nutrients you need to keep going without the added challenge of processing heavy foods and you'll find both mornings and afternoons (and late evenings) easier to tackle.
Exercise: Get Your Blood Pumping Daily
Finally, reach cardio at least once a day. It doesn't matter (much) how you achieve it. Go for a brisk walk. Dance around in your living room. Do pushups in your office. Just get your heartrate up with a little exercise. Your heartrate translates both to energy and focus, so a little cardio can wake you up and provide energy when you're starting to feel dead inside.
Don't let burnout bring down the rising star of your franchise. As a franchise owner, you owe it to yourself, your clients, and your team to keep yourself and the business together - even if you've been taking on too much, recently. Talk to your managers, take care of your body, and take control of your time. And maybe catch a short phone-off vacation to fully destress once before you head back to the office. You'll feel the burnout fading in no time.
For more valuable insights for franchise owners and teams, or to explore starting your own franchise, contact us today!