A start-up is the baby of any founder. He came up with the idea, mulled it over, nourished it and worked hard to give it a shape. In fact, in many cases, it’s difficult to separate a founder from his start-up; so entwined their entities are. One would think that’s good. But, in reality, it’s not! A start-up is different from its founder, any entrepreneur should know and understand this.
Most start-ups face the initial hurdles such as funding shortage and lack of a good team, resulting in overlapping jobs and extreme multitasking. There is also such a surge of other challenges that founders are continuously preoccupied with their work and the thin line between work-life balance often vanishes. All these factors bring about a burnout which can threaten its sustainability and can prove fatal for the entrepreneur’s well-being as well.
Here we will discuss the main reasons why this “Entrepreneurial Burnout” occurs and what the entrepreneurs should be doing to keep it at bay!
Working like a mule. When you are working on a start-up, you are essentially donning a number of roles simultaneously. You are the owner, manager, employee and even the peon for your company. Doing this over a long time can be exhausting, adversely affecting your efficiency and yielding undesirable results.
Not developing a thick skin. Being an entrepreneur requires you to develop an indifferent attitude or a thick skin where you do not let the criticism affect you. If you spend your time on analysing every harsh word that comes your way, it is not a good sign.
Lack of synergy amongst the stakeholders. The vision of founders, execution by management, expectations of investors and communication to employees must be in sync to steer the start up in the right direction. Lack of this synergy will defeat all targets and goals, no matter how achievable they are.
Setting unrealistic goals. Wanting it all is not a problem, but wanting it now is! Setting goals that are unrealistic and unachievable will not only demoralize you, but your whole team.
Not building the right work culture. Like the founder, the start-up employees also end up working relentless hours and juggling their way to everything. Apart from physical stress, job role ambiguity & conflicts, lack of resources to innovate or perform well, lack of feedback from the founder, and negligible say in decision making can also cause dissatisfaction in the employees. Together all these factors disrupt the culture of the start-up, leading to burnout at individual and an organizational level.
The Way Out:
Now that we have discussed the factors that push you towards the big bad ‘burnout’, let us get into a damage control mode where we throw light on how to manage and avoid this devil!
Build a routine. This routine should cover both your professional as well as personal life. Sleep well, eat healthy, exercise regularly and spend time with family. Routine gives a structure to your life and a sense of work-life balance even when the going keeps getting tougher.
Control multi-tasking. Multitasking comes with being an entrepreneur, but it is also important for you to check out roles and delegate them to the right team members. And remember, if a work can be done tomorrow, don’t overburden yourself by finishing it today.
Ensure that you are working towards the bigger picture, and not immediate results. Instead of just focusing on solving current problems, work on building a sustainable system. Think long term and create a solid groundwork which will help in streamlining your processes thereby reducing the workload.
Establish fair expectations. Set clear goals that are fair on you, your team and business. You cannot hurry the gestation period. So plan, research and then set your goals that push limits but are not unrealistic.
Tap the social network. Keeping in touch with other entrepreneurs and mentors means you are privy to a lot of wisdom and information. These interactions can result in learnings, including on how to maintain work-life balance and cope up with daily frustrations.
So here was a guide to how to make sure your start-up is not just another burnout. Hope you found them to be useful and would emulate them in your work lifestyle.