How to Identify, Prevent and Avoid Burnout at Work

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Burnout leers many entrepreneurs and business owners into its trap. But it comes with many negative side effects, ones that can take a bigger toll than just a few days of missed work.

By Kokab Rahman 

Burnout is very common among entrepreneurs and even among ambitious professionals. I’ve dealt with burnout many times over the years. As a startup founder with high ambitions, I had many goals that I was determined to reach — but the result often meant I was overworking myself, leading to burnout.

Unfortunately, burnout can often come without any warning. If you are very passionate about your work, like I was, many times you don’t even feel like you are working. This results in spending more time on work than is healthy.

Statistics show that entrepreneurs tend to sleep less and work more hours in a day. A Small Business Trends report said that 70% of business owners and self-employed work past their bedtime. Elon Musk says he worked 120 hours a week. Some entrepreneurs work more than 18 hours a day. The result of overworking comes with a huge personal cost — so let’s explore how to avoid it.

Burnout doesn’t just affect professionals

Spending too much time on any activity is unhealthy. Whether it’s professional work or sports, home chores or even video games, overdoing leads to burnout, stress and a compromised immune system. The result can be minor or major health problems, like headaches, fatigue, anxiousness and even putting yourself at a higher risk for cancer. What’s more, being exhausted and overworking can result in cloudy judgment resulting in missing out on business or work opportunities, not to mention its effect on family and marriage relationships.

Apart from health and relationship costs, there is the productivity cost as well. A train can’t travel fast forever. Eventually, there is a breakdown. For workers, this comes in the form of exhaustion or illness that slows you down or completely halts your work. You may lose many weeks after burnout. Heart health can also be affected.

For these reasons, remote workers and entrepreneurs need to regulate their work so they don’t overwork.

How to identify and prevent burnout

From my experience, burnout progresses from an addiction to work, a byproduct of becoming a workaholic. You feel like you have to do something, to get something done. Soon, your mind is blurry and productivity falls, but you can’t stop working. Many times you’re being just busy and hardly achieving anything at this stage. It is followed by muscle aches and exhaustion. And still, you may not be able to stop working because you’ve become addicted to it. Many professionals become so addicted to work that they don’t feel like taking a vacation and even work on weekends.

The best thing to do is to prevent burnout by limiting the number of hours you work. You can do this by setting work time limits and taking regular breaks during the day and especially at night and weekends, and taking regular vacation time off. By creating a work schedule with regular breaks and holidays, you prevent becoming a work addict which is the precursor to burnout.

If you see signs that you are becoming a work addict (i.e. you have the need to keep working without resting or stopping), the best thing to do is to stop, take a break and just relax.

Depending on the amount of exhaustion, the rest period may be a few hours to days and even several weeks in order for the effects of burnout to go away.

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Top strategies for preventing burnout

If you need some ideas of where to start in your journey to preventing burnout, here are my suggestions:

  1. Identify the most important tasks and focus on getting these done first.
  2. Set goals. Every task should bring you closer to reaching your main goal.
  3. Differentiate between income-producing activities and non-income-producing activities. Income-producing activities — such as speaking to a potential customer, making cold calls or delivering services — should get high priority. Non-income producing activities include tasks like posting on the company’s social media or updating the business website.
  4. Don’t spend time on the computer/tablet/smartphone unnecessarily. Use these devices with purpose, for important tasks that need to get done. Otherwise, avoid them. It’s easy to become busy with these devices, with so many activities available online, even business-related. And that uses even more of your energy, which can cause burnout. When you are away from the internet, you can focus on work that is important for your business. Otherwise, you may be keeping yourself busy with unimportant tasks.
  5. Delegate work that others can do.
  6. Limit the time you have access to the internet, such as not having WiFi access. A lot of time is spent on the internet, on social media or browsing news or YouTube/movies and these things reduce work-life balance. Not having unlimited access to the internet will ensure a more balanced life.

Burnout affects productivity as well as mental health. It can even have long-term effects on work abilities and professional progress. Therefore, for a healthy balanced life that is stress-free, it’s important to prevent burnout by having a relaxed work schedule.


Majority of Consumers Now Doing This to Combat Inflation Costs

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by Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead

Jungle Scout’s Q2 2022 Consumer Trends Report showed that 59% of consumers are not simply holding back from spending during the current inflation, but instead they are finding cheaper alternatives to the products they want. The report also notes that while inflation continues to impact consumer spending, the likes of social media, pricing and brand loyalty remain key factors in consumer behavior.

Valuable Insight Into Consumer Behavior During Inflation

Jungle Scout were founded in 2015 as the first Amazon product research tool and is now the leading all-in-one platform for ecommerce sellers on Amazon, supporting more than $40 billion in annual Amazon revenue.

The firm conducted their anonymous survey between May 6 and May 10, 2022, surveying 1,000 U.S. consumers about their buying preferences and behaviors. The respondents represented 48 different U.S. states, included all genders, and were aged between 18 to 75+. Respondents were also from a wide variety of employment types and income levels.

The results published by Jungle Scout show that 35% of consumers have purchased a product after watching a social media brand’s live stream. Another 42% say being ‘followed’ around the internet by ads is a helpful reminder, although 32% say they are ‘creeped out’ by the tactic.

Nearly half of consumers are more likely to shop from a brand that has consistently lower prices, while their willingness to switch to a new brand if it is more affordable increased 12% quarter on quarter.

(Of the social media platforms researched) the most trusted social media platform for finding and purchasing products was YouTube, followed by Facebook and Instagram.

Consumers ‘Still Investing’ in Retail Economy

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The CMO of Jungle Scout, Mike Scheschuk, said of his firm’s findings: “Despite concerns about inflation, consumers are still investing in the retail economy and are turning to ecommerce for the best deals.

“What’s changing is the products consumers buy and the factors that influence their purchase decisions. Brands need to reassess their strategy as social media and affordability reshape the retail landscape. By optimizing their online presence, brands can engage with customers, better understand their needs, and secure loyalty in these uncertain economic times.”

Report Highlights Generational Differences

Jungle Scout’s report also revealed different behavioral changes according to which generation a consumer was from. The survey showed that Millennials were less likely to sacrifice their shopping habits to cut costs compared to Baby Boomers, who were nearly twice as likely as Millennials to go without some products to cut costs.

Only 35% of Millennials would buy a less expensive brand to save money, while Baby Boomers are more likely to shop in-store so they don’t have to pay for shipping.

The report also noted that two of three U.S. consumers shop on Amazon, with most of those being loyal Prime members.  A little under half of those said they were likely to shop on Prime Day this year, with close to 90% of Amazon Prime members surveyed saying they will likely keep their Prime membership for another year.


Always have to be right? Tend to ignore feedback? Congrats, you just lost a customer

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By Steve Strauss

Has this ever happened to you?

You walk into a store needing some help and up slides a salesperson who not only wants to sell you something but apparently needs to sell you something. They will sell you something, whether you need it or not. The salesperson is far more interested in upselling you than helping you.

Of course, it has happened to you. It’s happened to all of us. The real question is, why?

Does the salesperson really think that his pushiness will actually make the sale? Does his manager assume that hard sales tactics actually work? Does the store even know what it takes to make and keep a customer? Probably not.

Here are surefire ways to lose customers:

1. Take the client or customer for granted

There is a great quote often attributed to Gandhi that goes like this:

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”

Whether or not Gandhi said it is beside the point. The point is, remember, our customers are doing us a favor.

2. Do shoddy work or sell shoddy products

Whether your business is a discount warehouse or e-commerce store, people expect to get value for their dollar. If you don’t keep your promise to your customers by even doing the minimum necessary, don’t expect to have them as customers for long.

And it’s not just the discount store or website that needs to heed this warning. If, for instance, you buy a luxury automobile and something goes wrong, you would expect the dealer to make it right, right?


3. Ignore customer feedback

If you have an unhappy customer or see negative reviews online about your business, you better fix the problems and make the unhappy customers happy because they all have a thousand-watt megaphone at their disposal these days.

4. Don’t accept returns or fail to guarantee your product

Why is Costco so successful? One reason is their generous return policy which makes customers happy. What about Nordstrom, or Amazon? Ditto. Today, you better guarantee your work and products or customers will find someone who does.

5. Ignore them

Not to date myself or sound like Andy Rooney too much or anything, but don’t you just hate when you go into a store and no one seems to notice or care that you are there? Or what about getting stuck in the voicemail loop from hell? Or when you shoot a company an email and never get a response? No one likes to be ignored, and that especially goes for customers.

6. Insist on being right

No, of course, the customer is not always right. But if you want to make them happy, you will be more willing than not to be wrong.

The bottom line is that people come into your business or visit you online because they have a want or need and think you can help them with it. If you and your staff remember that you are there to serve and not sell, you will sell more and keep a lot of customers in the process.

Small Business Owner Expectations at Record Low

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Inflation concerns and difficulty hiring are the leading drivers of pessimism

By Danial Clark

Small business owners’ expectations for the future fell to a 48-year low as owners report inflation continues to be their number one business problem, according to a survey by National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

The NFIB’s Optimism Index fell 0.1 points in May to a reading of 93.1, marking the fifth straight month below the 48-year average of 98. Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months declined four points to a net negative 54%, the lowest level recorded in the survey’s 48-year history. Expectations for better business conditions have deteriorated every month since January.

Twenty-eight percent of owners reported inflation was their most important business problem, a decrease of four points from April. The share of owners raising prices increased two points to 72%, matching the number reached in March, and the highest reading on record.

Amid a tight labor market, 51% of owners reported job openings they could not fill in May. Ninety-two percent of those hiring or trying to hire reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Twelve percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem, while 23% said that labor quality was their top business problem.

“Small businesses are the first to feel an economic contraction, so their concerns should be listened to closely,” stated Caleb Silver, Editor in Chief of Investopedia.

How do small businesses counter and then thrive when faced with high inflation and few qualified applicants? By Steve Header

To combat inflation, raise your prices. Yes, raise your prices in order to continue to make sufficient margins, in order to survive. You’re saying, “right, the big corporations will just keep pricing lower as they have the means to weather inflation, so we must keep our prices lower, too.” Small businesses have something big businesses don’t – speed and agility. The majority of customers will gladly pay more to have the product or service faster.

Multiple layers in larger companies prevent them from acting and reacting as fast as small businesses with few layers. For example, a couple would like to have their house painted. They may receive a quote from large company, ABC, for $1200 scheduled to be completed out 10 weeks. They also receive a quote from small company, 123, for $1450 scheduled to completed in 2 weeks. Who wins this bid? Yep, the small business.

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Addressing the issue of quality applicants becoming fewer and further in between. Large companies can pay more to attract quality workers and afford to send them for additional training if need be.

Small businesses don’t have this luxury, nor do they need it! There are countless specialist, independent contractors, and companies’ specializing in all areas. Utilize these services to pick and choose only what is necessary, pay for a month or an hour.

Small businesses have so much to offer consumers, let’s stop playing the game of the large companies, and start doing what we do best.

3 Operational Changes That Improve Your Profit Without Spending Any Money

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Before investing more money into your marketing dollars, you must first evaluate your business to understand its strengths and opportunities for improvements.

By Kedma Ough, MBA

Jump onto any social media platform today, and you will have an array of advertisers showcasing the next sensational program to improve your customer sales flow. Almost all options require a hefty investment that promises an increase in profit and doesn’t necessarily solve some of the reasons companies are not as profitable. Often, small businesses ask if they should invest more and more in marketing so they can produce even more sales conversion. Before recommending they turn the dial to invest more marketing dollars, consider why prospective customers are saying no to your offer.

Making a profit in business is intentional, strategic and calculated. While we have all heard of the viral video that hits millions of followers, this is not a strategy I would follow to build an extended-lasting business model. Lasting results that lead to solid profits are achieved by ongoing tests and measurements that can give necessary feedback and data for continuous profit improvements.

Before investing more money into your marketing dollars, you must first evaluate your business to understand its strengths and opportunities for improvements. To scale your small business income, here are three operational changes that you can make to double returns on investments (ROI) and secure your small business’s future without spending a ton of money.

1. Focus on zero-based budgeting (ZBB)

Create a habit of assessing the expenses on your profit and loss statement and its justification every quarter. It is alarming that so many small businesses do not actively analyze each expense category periodically. In one small business audit, a company with ten employees spent $ 3,000 a month on business meals. When I interviewed the owner, I learned that a few staff members enjoyed one too many lunches on the company’s credit card. With an average of $ 15.00 per meal, more than 200 meals were expensed within 30 days among ten employees. Our team introduced a change in the meal expenses that limited meals to $ 100 per staff member per month or the option to receive a $ 100.00 bonus on their paycheck. This saved the company more than 60% monthly on meals without reducing employee morale.

2. Improving your average sales closing ratio

This is one of the easiest ways to solve a profit problem. The first area to consider when assessing a small business is its closing conversion. In other words, how many customers had the opportunity to be exposed to their product and service and decided to buy from them. Simply put, the closing ratio is dependent on how effective your sales team or sales funnel is in converting new leads into new customers. Every industry has benchmarks to determine the ideal closing ratio. Therefore, if we could analyze why potential customers said no to the offer, we could improve the closing ratio.

Recently, I was coaching a company in the home services industry that had a closing ratio of 29% when the average benchmark for closing was closer to 50%. Instead of investing in more marketing dollars, we developed a simple tracking system on Google Sheets to understand why someone rejected the offer each time. In doing so, we were able to see patterns across promotional offers being considered, variance in ticket prices and even differences in specific zip codes. Once we had a firm understanding of why customers were rejecting the offers, the company set out to build a robust internal training program to address all the reasons a prospect may not sign up with the company and offer better responses and more personalized incentives. Within six weeks of introducing the process, the company saw a 9% increase in its overall closing ratio.

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3. Investing in your employees’ wellbeing

It’s one of the easiest ways to improve your bottom line. According to the Department of Labor’s most recent statistics, more than 11 million jobs are open in the United States, and the workforce is desperately seeking more employees to hire. Yet, many companies are not putting enough effort into the personal well-being of their employees and asking them what they need to feel happy, secure and more invested in their role. One of the most affordable ways to reduce company turnover is to invest time and energy into your staff. While staffing often is the most expensive aspect of a business, reducing the cost of employee turnover is equally essential. Considering your employees as the most valuable customers may be the first step in changing your company’s culture. The best marketing tool that a business can have is a satisfied employee because they are on the front line every day with your external prospects and customers. Here are simple and affordable ways to invest in your employees and support your bottom line:

  • You can have each staff member complete a personality assessment to get to know them better, especially regarding their interests, motivation, style of communication and things that would reduce stress.
  • Create a safe open-door policy for employees to share their thoughts without repercussion.
  • Discuss a company’s ongoing support openly to improve one’s mental health.
  • Encourage short health breaks throughout the day so they can be more productive.
  • Surprise your team with little thank-you cards or small appreciation gifts.

With social media, there are many ways to distract our efforts and look for a magic pill to fix our profitability. Still, more often than not, the answer is within, and we have to put our attention back on the internal frameworks of the business. attention back on the internal frameworks of the business.

from: Entrepreneur

Become a Successful Entrepreneur By Focusing on These 3 Areas

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Distraction is almost always the enemy of success.

By Sara Caroline Sabin 

The modern world is designed to distract us. From social media to smartphones, we have notifications and noise coming at us from all directions.

That means that in a business context, and especially so for entrepreneurs, we can get distracted by trying to do too many things at once. We get “shiny new object syndrome.” If you have unlimited time, resources and money, why not experiment and try multiple different products, services, strategies and ideas?

That could be the mindset for some. However, in the absence of limitless availability, focus becomes your best friend.

Success might mean acknowledging that you will focus on only a few things at any one time. This allows you to give each thing a fair go, which will also allow you to make a fair assessment on whether to continue a project or not.

Focus on your vision
Imagine you get into your car. You know you want to go somewhere, but you’re not sure where. You drive around for a while. Maybe you find a nice place to stop, or perhaps you get stuck in traffic. You don’t know where you’re going — you’re just driving.

That is the way that many people start (and run) their business. It’s great in the beginning as you experiment, but it will not allow you to be productive and grow.

When you plug your destination into your GPS system, you get there faster. You may encounter traffic on the way or even closed roads, but you deal with these on your ultimate path. It allows you to navigate these challenges more easily and make informed decisions when you know where you are going.

Formulating a vision and shared philosophy for your business may not be urgent, but it is important. It allows you to achieve success in the long term.

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Focus on what’s important, not just what is urgent
A trap that I see many entrepreneurs falling into is a constant flurry of busy-ness. Meetings, networking events and client calls — their diary is packed. They rarely ever stop to question whether they really need to be doing all those activities or what value they really bring. Everything feels urgent, and many entrepreneurs continue running on that treadmill. (Putting out fires! LuciditySBM)

It may make us feel good about ourselves to stay busy. It’s treated almost like a badge of honor. However, the bigger question is whether we are being impactful.

Constantly running on that treadmill and not taking the time to reflect, reassess and restrategize may keep us stuck where we are rather than allowing us to grow. It may prevent us from seeing the highest growth areas in our business, identifying future trends and anticipating roadblocks.

In other words, this treadmill can keep us reactive rather than proactive.

Focus on mastering your niche before diversifying
Rather than focusing solely on external factors and competition, acknowledge these factors and focus on what you can control. Before Google became the search engine of choice, there was Ask Jeeves (and a few others). Google came along and did search engines better than anyone before them.

You may not aspire to be the next Google, but you can focus on being the absolute best you can be.

What product or service can you offer that you can be the “best in the world” at doing? What problem are you here to solve in a unique way? Focusing on those questions, rather than trying to copy or outdo your competitors, means that you can really get to work at serving your customers.

It’s a lot easier to scale a niche that you’ve mastered.

Don’t forget. Timing is everything.

Focusing on a particular goal, with measures to track success of that focus area, will enable you to plan more effectively in the short and medium term. This will enable you to make informed decisions about what to leverage and what to let go of in your business.


6 Ways to Help Small Businesses in Our Community Thrive

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Posted by: SNO Staff

BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY — Small business owners faced the challenges of the past couple of years head-on. Nearly all reevaluated their operations to accommodate new ways of doing business amid changing safety standards and local protocols, and many plan to make these changes permanent. Consider these ways you can support small businesses.

1. Choose to Shop Local and Small

Small businesses are ingrained in many local communities. When you choose to purchase from a small business, you’re directly supporting neighbors, friends and the people in your community. This support isn’t taken for granted by entrepreneurs. Also consider leaving a generous tip when you receive exceptional service – it can make a big difference for small business staff.

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2. Gift Local

Keep the impact that your support could have on local community businesses in mind when shopping for gifts, whether they’re for loved ones near or far. For locals, a gift card to a nearby eatery or business such as a spa, salon or recreation center makes for a welcome gift that keeps your money local. When gifting those who live farther away, you can still benefit small businesses in your community by purchasing a thoughtful gift and packaging locally then shipping it with the help of a business in your area.

3. Help Spread the Word

Small businesses don’t usually have the means to invest in big marketing programs, so referrals and word of mouth can make a major difference. However, in today’s world, a great deal of consumer research happens online. That means you can be most helpful by taking your stories of great service and quality products to the internet, too. Seek out your favorite small businesses and write reviews on their social media channels. Take it a step further and give them a shoutout (with tags, if possible) on your own social media accounts where your friends and family are more likely to notice

4. Help Fill Open Positions

The job market has shifted noticeably over the past year, and local businesses have been struggling to find the talent they need to continue to serve their communities. Small business owners recognize this and are shifting benefits for their employees, allowing for more flexible schedules and additional paid time off.

Since these business owners are looking for employees to help fill some of the uptick in demand, you can help by tapping into your own network and recommending people for different positions you see, whether it be through “Help Wanted” signs or based on the needs you hear from the businesses you patronize.

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5. Be Mindful of Business Challenges

Finding a work-life balance can be difficult for small business owners even in non-pandemic times because they wear so many hats within their businesses, from CEO and salesperson to human resources and everything in between.

As a consumer, it’s important to be mindful of the fact that business owners are both short-staffed and dealing with supply chain issues. Take an understanding approach and work with local businesses to make sure they know they are supported by their community.

6. Check In on What’s New

Just as you’ve changed your consumer habits and needs, small businesses have adapted in dozens of ways. That could mean you have access to new services or options you never considered. For example, your favorite yoga studio may offer streaming classes or a favorite breakfast café you haven’t visited in a while might have an all-new menu. Take time to stop in and learn how your favorite businesses are changing with the times and see how those changes may suit your needs.