Running your own business can already be a stressful experience. You have to be a strong leader to guide your team effectively, set your brand apart, and ensure your company turns a profit. With so many factors that go into running a business, it can be hard to find enough hours in the day to get everything done.
Yet as hard as that can be, many entrepreneurs stretch themselves even further by operating multiple businesses at the same time. In fact, the Hiscox DNA of an Entrepreneur report found that 26 percent of small business owners ran multiple companies.
Needless to say, running multiple businesses would only compound the stresses you already experience as an entrepreneur. But it doesn’t have to overwhelm you.
A few basic guidelines will help you keep everything running smoothly:
A strong team is essential for the success of any business, even more so when you are running multiple companies. Strong co-founders who share your vision and philosophy can build upon your skill set and reduce the burden of running projects and managing employees.
Regular, open communication with co-founders and employees will keep everyone on the same page. Hiring a team you can trust will allow you to focus more on the big picture aspects of both companies, rather than getting caught up in less-important minutiae.
Outsourcing and automation can be even more helpful when running multiple businesses. For example, the 2020 In(Sight) Report from WorkMarket reveals that 78 percent of business leaders believe automation tools can help them save three hours of work a day, or 360 hours per year.
When you’re running multiple companies, those extra hours can make a huge difference, especially when they help you avoid mundane work or managing tasks you don’t know very well. Automation tools and freelance platforms will allow you to focus on the higher-level needs of both companies.
The value of work-life balance became especially clear to me during a recent conversation with Dr. Dan Schneider. As a medical professional, entrepreneur, and business consultant, he has seen firsthand how an entrepreneur’s poor health can negatively impact their business. During his consulting experience, he has found the majority of problems for entrepreneurs stem from stress and anxiety-fueled burnout.
A study from the Harvard Business Review, with the aim of discovering why entrepreneurs have higher rates of burnout than other workers, found that those who describe themselves as “obsessively passionate” are more likely to get emotionally drained and stressed by their work.
The way to counter this, Dr. Schneider recommends, is to maintain a positive work-life balance. Despite owning multiple businesses himself, Dr. Schneider still takes time out for his family and community involvement.
While the best tactics for de-stressing will likely vary from person to person, you must be willing to take time away from your businesses every once in a while. Spending time with friends and family, enjoying a hobby or simply resting will allow you to recharge so you’ll have enough energy for both companies.
When running multiple companies, you cannot afford to play favorites. If you spend most of your time with one of your companies, the neglected business will suffer. Just like how you hold employees accountable for how they spend their time, you must also hold yourself accountable for how you divide your attention between businesses.
One easy way to accomplish this is using a time tracker tool. This can help you see how much time you are spending with each business and make any needed adjustments to your schedule. If you have trouble dividing time evenly, you could even consider setting strict time limits. As soon as the alarm goes off indicating that time is up, you shift your focus to the other business, no matter what.
You may find it easiest to spend the morning with one business and the afternoon with the other, or divide your time by days of the week. You also need to be mindful of any factors that limit your productivity while you’re working with either company, so you can maximize your time with both businesses.
Whichever method you choose for dividing your hours, keep reports of how you spend your time. As the one in charge, you have to hold yourself accountable.
Managing multiple businesses at once can be extremely challenging — but with the right approach, it can also be extremely rewarding and profitable. By taking steps to ensure that both businesses get the attention they deserve without stretching yourself too thin, you can effectively take your brands to the next level.
Published on: Mar 11, 2020
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.