Business = Stress

April 30, 2009

It's been a long-time dream of mine to own an agency.

When I was in high school, I developed a company name and logo, designed our studio space, wrote a business plan (!) and labeled all of the creative work I did as if I were running a commercial operation. Over 15 years later, I made the agency happen.

What I didn't realize at the time, obviously, was how fraught with stress running a business can be. I was simply too caught up in the idea of living out my dream. In fact, I don't think I would have wanted someone to inform me otherwise. Much of the joy in being young comes from blissful innocence.

Stress shows itself in a myriad of ways. Big or small, short or long and drawn out, stressful questions and concerns constantly run through my brain:

Are they happy with how things are going? Is there more you could be doing? Are they satisfied with the result? What are they saying about your company to other staff or colleagues?

Is there enough work in the stream to keep everyone busy? Are those same people engaged and challenged? Are the projects being completed inline with the greater vision of your company?

Cash flow
What needs to be paid this month or this week? Is there enough money in the bank account to do so? What invoices are outstanding or overdue? Will we have enough money next month or three months from now?

What do we need to run efficiently? What equipment needs to be upgraded, replaced or repaired? Should we lease or purchase said equipment?

Are we staying current with our skills and knowledge? Who else is doing great work? Who is doing lousy work but can sell better than us? Speaking of which, who is speaking to our clients without us knowing?

Is there enough staff to do the work we need to do, on time and on budget? Do we need to grow? Do we need to scale back? Is there the right mix of skills, experience and attitudes to create a solid team and positive work environment? Is our company culture how we want it to be?

In the end, all you can do is acknowledge that business = stress. Accept this as fact and prepare for stress to simply be just another problem you solve every day.