Business Owners’ Optimism and Burnout

Small business owners continue to have optimism, passion, and dedication. According to a recent survey conducted by Walmart Business, 88% remain confident their businesses will grow in the next year despite acknowledging barriers. Those include inflation, rising costs, lack of customers, and staffing challenges. Owners also state that accounting, managing sales, customers, and negotiations as their biggest headaches.

Working Hard… No Downtime

One of the more alarming indications from the survey is that only 22% of owners feel they take enough vacation. This is the flip side of their commitment to the business. Owners listed the following reasons for not vacationing: the need to be at work to run the company, affordability of a vacation, and not being able to afford the loss of business while away.

Daily Work on the Owner

So how do small business owners avoid burning out? We suggest Stephen Covey’s Habit #7 from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Sharpen the Saw! This is a daily habit of self-renewal to preserve the greatest asset of all…. YOU! Small business is the backbone of our economy and the research shows that owners are likely the ones with the worst work-life balance. It’s time owners take a moment to fill or refill the emotional bank account.

Suppose you were to come upon someone in the woods working feverishly to saw down a tree.

“What are you doing?” you ask.
“Can’t you see?” comes the impatient reply. “I’m sawing down this tree.”
“You look exhausted!” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?”
“Over five hours,” he returns, “and I’m beat! This is hard work.”
“Well, why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw?” you inquire. “I’m sure it would go a lot faster.”
“I’m too busy sawing!”

While daily commitments and a focus on a better future are strong motivators, take the time and effort to balance the work life with the other things that matter most: family, friends, faith, community.

“We must never become too busy sawing to take time to sharpen the saw.” – Dr. Stephen R. Covey

To read the full Walmart Business survey, click here.