Handling Stress in a
Small Business

Handling stress is an important topic that effects both life quality and business results.

In this interview Donna Craine of DC Hypnotherapy talks to successful businesswoman Hazel Stopford. They discuss the demands of running a small business, and look at how Hazel manages stress.

Hazel Stopford is the director of Body and Mind Therapy Centre.

The Body and Mind Therapy Centre is a small business based in Mossley, Greater Manchester.

It's is a busy holistic centre providing customers with a number of different therapy options from body work therapies, such as massage and reflexology, and talking therapies such as Hypnotherapy and CBT and counselling.

First of all I wanted to get an idea of the size of Hazel’s business. Hazel explained that the Body and Mind Therapy Centre is open five days a week and for 54 hours over that period. It employs 24 staff in total with a minimum of five therapists working throughout the day.

This means that The Body and Mind Therapy centre holds the capacity to handle 25 – 30 clients a day at optimum level. Hazel is however in the process of expanding the business by opening two new therapy rooms allowing for a potential increase to 35 – 40 clients per day.

Hazel has been the owner of The Body and Mind Therapy Centre for ten years. For a period of time Hazel had a staff manager Hannah who has recently taken a career break to travel the world.

Hazel advised “within any small business you have to be flexible and your role is never a clearly defined one job / one role. Hannah worked part time managing staff issues and supporting the sales and marketing side of things also”. Hazel is now taking on much of that responsibility herself, or delegating some of the work to her team of reception staff.

Managing a small business

I asked Hazel about her approach to managing her business and how that has changed since the business began.

“Your approach changes over time and as things change in your business. The situation with this business at the moment is that it is still growing and we have increased both staff and our range of services over the past two years. This creates a need for change in organization, communication and structure, so we have to constantly review and assess how we organise ourselves.

The business is not yet at the stage where I can commit to employing a full time manager so I am currently having to manage my time between the day to day things that need doing in a business, such as wages, marketing, sales, accounting as well as looking at the short term and long term plans of where I want the business to go in the future.”

Handling stress

I asked Hazel if she experiences stress with her situation at work.

(She laughs) “Yes I experience stress, anyone who runs their own business will come across things that they have to deal with that you can’t avoid as you have a responsibility to everybody really and that can be stressful”

Stress changes as the business changes and develops. No business stays the same it’s always evolving whether that because that’s the way you’re driving it or because you have taken advantage of an opportunity that has come your way

I asked how stress shows itself in Hazel.

“It depends really on how much stress there is and if I’ve created time to do things that help to mitigate the pressure cooker syndrome. I try to have regular treatments myself. I have made a clearer line between work and taking things home and working from home.

When I work from here I tend to keep it here as much as possible and from home I try not to get involved in work issues at all so it’s a lot clearer. I think that’s one of the big problems with running your own business, you can never just walk away and leave it. There is always something you could be doing and unless you are really good with time management you could be working a 50 hour week”.

Hazel is qualified in shiatsu massage, reflexology and is a Reiki Master however does not practice any longer as has other therapist she can pass that work too.

“Working with clients is what got me in the business in the first place and I love doing that but from a time management perspective, it became impossible for me to continue to manage a growing business plus continue to offer treatments to clients.

I asked Hazel if there are any treatments you would recommend at the centre to help people manage stress.

“All of them, it depends on the individual for instance some people would respond to body work therapy and some people may respond better to a more cognitive therapy, or hypnotherapy or counselling. Acupuncture and nutrition can be very helpful it all depends on the client’s individual needs”.

Self help techniques for stress

I also asked Hazel if she used any self help techniques to manage her stress.

“I have a dog and walk him daily. I have hobbies that I like to do to switch off from the business. I like to see friends and family. I think anything in moderation really I don’t have a fixed approach to anything. I eat well; I don’t tend to eat processed food. I eat fresh, I exercise with the dog daily and would like to exercise more but it is finding time”.

“It depends on what you consider stress. Eight years ago the things that I found stressful I don’t even think about now because I have new things to deal with. I think the things with any business is you have to know about so many issues; such as legislation you need to comply with in order to run your business, you also need to know your business, your competitors.

You also need to keep up to date with technology such as the internet - all those things that change pretty rapidly these days. You need to allocate time to this learning. Running a business you can’t necessarily just go on a course to learn that because you can’t afford a full day out of the office, so you tend to gather that information from reliable sources and the internet is the best one or advice from others who have been in a similar situation.

It is about learning as you go along. If you are in business it tends to be because you do something well in a particular area but as well as that you need to know a lot about many other aspects and unless you hire a person who has that knowledge it’s your responsibility to find out details”.

Final Words

“Stress levels change daily, try not to be rigid and go with it. Each day I have a to-do list of priority jobs that need doing if I get three quarters of the list completed I am happy. Prioritise, manage your time efficiently and change with the business.”

Body and Mind Therapy Centre

The Body and Mind Therapy Centre run by Hazel Stopford is based in Mossley close to Manchester in the North West of the UK.

You can see more on a wide range of therapies for handling stress by opening the Body and Mind website in a new window.

DC Hypnotherapy

Donna Craine is a hypnotherapist that specializes in working with women on techniques for handling stress. She has successfully helped working women, sales women, managers and small business owners to handle stress and improve the quality of their life and the results they achieve at work.

See more about what hypnotherapy can do for you and arrange your initial free consultation at DC Hypnotherapy.

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