A man counts money. When starting a business, there is a lot to learn amisdt several failures. PHOTO/ EDGAR R.BATTE


Overcoming stress in entrepreneurship

What you need to know:

For your business to thrive, it needs a healthy and stable individual at the helm. But being passionate as an entrepreneur shouldn’t mean constant stress.

“Entrepreneurship is amazing as it affords you an income without having to answer to any boss.” That is the picture many people that start this journey have. Unfortunately, it has several hiccups and the bosses are many. From the consumer that wants a price cut notwithstanding the cost price to the tax operator that needs his taxes irrespective of the losses.  

With many twists and turns, entrepreneurship can be stressful.   
However, one aspect that dents any entrepreneurial journey is the lack of self-awareness yet it is foundational for excellence in any venture. According to a study by organisational psychologist Tasha Eurich, only 10 to 15 percent of people are self-aware.

According to Harvard Business Review, an un-self-aware person can cut their team’s chance of success by half. That is because self-awareness helps entrepreneurs recognise and understand their emotions, behaviours and thoughts hence guiding them in decision-making.

Self-awareness is tied to self-reflection and according to the Entrepreneur publication, it helps entrepreneurs understand their strengths and weakness. That gives them a road map on what to polish.
Ms Grace Obalim, a clinical psychologist at Transcultural psychosocial organisation, says while these aspects are crucial, many entrepreneurs do not have them. 

“Entrepreneurship is not everybody’s cup of tea and businesses should not be a substitute for financial strength to everybody. Understand if your lifestyle or profession allows you to support the business. It also takes in our character as one may not be receptive enough to draw in clients. If you cannot tick all the boxes, find another way to make money,” she advises.

A woman sells pastries in Kampala. Entrepreneurs sacrifice a lot for their businesses to reach their full potential and this results into stress. PHOTO/MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI

Build a support system 
Entrepreneurship has several hard times and Ms Linda Amariatek, coach and proprietor of Amariatek Coaching and Mentorship has encountered these often.
“I am in the business of listening to people’s challenges and offering help. However, sometimes, these issues could overwhelm me or the solution may not be within reach,” she says.

Ms Amariatek’s solution has been to build a support system of mentors and coaches that understand her goals. 
“I can contact these when in need of clarity on any issue. I have also surrounded myself with valuable optimistic people, as these are crucial in those dark moments,” she says.

Talk to people
If you are suffering some setbacks such as failure to find solutions, meet targets or even loss, they will lead to stress. Do not to suffer in silence.

“Seek professional help or talk to successful entrepreneurs on how they made it work or how to get a new plan. Even when you are doing well, talk to people about the business because you never know what new idea one will share,”  Ms Obalim says, adding:  “Teamwork builds one’s capacity to cope but also find solutions.”  

Work as a team
While, oftentimes, only one person gets the business dream, fulfilling it alone makes the entrepreneurship journey lonely. 

Mr Ivan Phillip Baguma of Nella Organics was in such a position which meant long working hours that led to accumulated stress, irritability and intense weight loss.
“I began sharing my dream with my team members. It was like a mentoring of sorts that paid off as we started working as a team,” he says.

Learn the trade
When starting a business, there is a lot to learn amisdt several failures. 
Sidonah Kyomugasho of Sid Table Affairs had to try a couple of recipes before starting commercial outside catering. 
“It is rare in this industry for someone to teach you voluntarily. In the start, I often cooked more than was needed for the function hence losses. There are also instances where I delivered late and the tiredness after cooking for hours, pressure to please, and tension from furious clients made me vow not to cater for another event. However, a request from an event attendant to cater to their upcoming function gave me hope,” she says.

Be kind to yourself
Ms Obalim says failure is inevitable. However, entrepreneurs should take it a step at a time. 
“If it does not work out today, try again tomorrow,” she says.

Business has wins and losses. However, Ms Obalim urges entrepreneurs to put emphasis on the triumphs and run with that. 
“It could be as small as being at work early or getting the customer orders right. Regardless of how small it is, it is worth holding onto and nurturing. Remember that it is a gradual process to reach the top,” she says.

Ms Obalim advises entrepreneurs to adjust to the most current economic status because money is now scarce hence less buying and reduced profits.

“Readjust your ventures because with reduced uptake comes stagnant stock. Rather than maintain the restocking rate, cut back to save and reinvest in other ventures. It could also mean downsizing to having few shop braches to manage costs,” she says.

To make a profit inspite of the soaring prices, Ms Kyomugasho started hitting the market as early as 5 a.m as fresh produce is at almost half the price. 
“I learned to consistently deal with the same people. In so doing, some suppliers give me credit for two to three days. Owing to this loyalty, some suppliers give me market and food tips, say rice that gives me the same output yet it is not costly,” she says.