Tag Archive | technology

Managing stress in business

Lessons from weight management

Years ago, I read that people who weigh themselves regularly have far more success in managing their weight than those who don’t. It’s as if the practice of being focused and aware of your current state gives you the information and impetus you need to meet your goals.

I’ve actually been recording my weight in Bizeo for some time, using a manual KPI, and I’d agree. Not only knowing my weight but seeing its trend over time has been really beneficial. It’s given me a greater understanding of my health as I get older.

Stressed out business owners

Recently, I decided to extend this experiment to measuring my stress levels.

The more business owners I speak to, the more I realise that stress is a massive problem in business. So often, we forget to look after ourselves, especially our stress levels. Many people can’t cope if they don’t receive a regular pay cheque, yet business owners face the daily uncertainties of business income and expenses to provide those steady pay cheques. We need to keep our heads when those around us panic about new challenges or uncertainties. And the personal crises of friends and family often end up on our shoulders as well.

Not to mention that the usual remedy for stress relief—taking a holiday—is one of the more stressful things you can do as a business owner (if you don’t have Bizeo!). You’re away from the office, your finger is off the pulse and things aren’t getting done without you there. And then there’s the enormous pile of work that ambushes you when you step back through the door.

Feeling stressed?

Measuring stress

To start measuring my stress levels, I developed a rough guide to what determined stress levels at various points on a scale from 1 to 10. Then I started using another daily KPI so that, when Bizeo sends me a daily email asking for my weight, it also asks for my current stress level.

At first, I thought this would be a gimmicky exercise. After all, I understand my stress levels very well after:

  • spending nearly 26 years in business
  • being the single parent of a teenage daughter
  • facing (many times!) the various personal and business crises that challenge us all from time to time.

I didn’t think I’d learn anything new—but I did.

Advantages of stress management

I learned that, just as weighing yourself regularly keeps you focused on your weight, recording your stress levels and seeing their history has a similar effect on stress. While this, in itself, doesn’t reduce the stress, it does keep you focused on what you need to do to keep the KPI within a tolerable range. After all, this is the fundamental promise of Bizeo.

This focus also helps you see trends and adds that extra mental impetus to do something positive when your stress levels have been high for too long or are trending in the wrong direction.

I’d definitely recommend trying this for yourself.

Try Bizeo for free

Of course, you don’t need Bizeo for this—you could easily do it in Excel (though Excel won’t email you each day to remind you!).

However, if you’d like try it in Bizeo, you can get a free subscription that allows you to monitor up to 20 KPIs. (We’ve just removed the 30-day limit on the free version, so there’s no excuse not to try it!)

Read instructions on setting up a manual KPI.

But no matter how you do it, please do take the time to do something for yourself. We need all our businesspeople to stay healthy and strong.

And, as always, please let me know how you go. You can comment below or leave a post on our Facebook page.

Death by Dashboard!

Here are some questions I’d like you to ponder:

  • Have you used dashboard technology in your business?
  • How useful did you find it overall?
  • Did you feel like you were across your business?
  • Did you have time to look at all the information you collected, let alone use it to improve business?
  • Why do you need so much information anyway?

And finally…

  • How did it all get so complicated???

Information overload

It’s official – we’re suffering from information overload. All day we’re bombarded with ads, social media, blogs, newsletters, emails and more. With all these competing distractions, we’re supposed to be across every aspect of our business. And, often, it’s not until disaster strikes (like a flood!) that we realise the truth – we’re not.

So, in recent times, we’ve implemented dashboard technology to give us all the information about our business that we could need – graphs, stats, trends and pretty colours. Except now we don’t have time to look at it, so we’re still no clearer on whether the various aspects of the business are doing ok at any given moment. Something isn’t working.

When I started out in business, it was pretty easy. If I had money in the bank and work to do, I knew everything was good. But it’s just not that simple anymore.

Now I have a massive number of KPIs to measure, including sales pipelines, websites and IT systems, customer satisfaction levels, telephone call response times, Google ad campaigns, building and network security systems, staffing levels, production rates, machine maintenance, currency exchange rates, stock values, spoilage rates and many more…

No wonder business owners are more stressed than ever. (It’s true – you can read all about it here.)

The KPI burden

The other problem for business owners is the cost of getting all these KPIs. Someone has to write a report and run it, or calculate a figure or check on a machine.

KPIs then need to be collated for management, and presented and reviewed. And most KPI reports contain not just the key metrics, but all the supporting details as well.

Graph showing with dashboards that as the number of KPIs increases, so does the effort required to get them.

This ‘KPI burden’ has caused organisations to abandon many measurement practices, and managers to stop analysing their reports and dashboards. In the last month, I’ve read at least two columns about how to prioritise and cull your KPIs down to only a handful to make them more manageable.

This isn’t the solution!

How I solved all this

Well, the solution wasn’t to give up measuring my business just because I didn’t have time. In the end, I solved the problem by inventing something brand new. (I’m in IT – it’s what I do!)

I invented a business monitoring system that could monitor hundreds of KPIs across my business BUT take me less than a second to confirm that everything’s ok. I can get more information if I need it and reassurance if I don’t. The collection processes are all automated and, no matter how many KPIs I add to it, I still have still one single indicator to check on.

Graph showing that, with Bizeo, as the number of KPIs increases, the effort required stays the same.

It’s so vital that I measure what’s going on in the business but I don’t need (more) reams of paper on my desk. I don’t want each new KPI to add more time to my day or another page to a report.

I want to know basic, but very important, things. Where are we now? What is the trend? Is everything ok? And I want to be able to check any machine (desktop, notebook, office space, tablet computer, mobile phone) to find out.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to go out and hire an IT expert to invent something like I did. I’m so proud of Bizeo that I want everyone to use it. Don’t suffer death by dashboard anymore – let Bizeo take the stress out of your business!

Facing disaster with Bizeo

What a week! All of us in the Bizeo team hope that all of you in Queensland are safe and dry after the damaging winds and flooding over the past week.

For many of us, including me, the effects of ex-cyclone Oswald brought back vivid memories of another stressful time – the 2011 floods. (Read my previous blog post, The Story of Bizeo: From Disaster to Inspiration for that story!)

But this time things were different — this time, I had Bizeo. As the developer of this technology, I finally got to see firsthand how my new invention would fair in a real, live disaster. And I know for a fact that the wild weather over the Australia Day weekend would’ve been a lot more stressful for me had it not been for Bizeo.

Like many in Brisbane, I was hit with power outages at my home. Additionally, the Council listed the street where our business is located as one of those likely to flood (not surprisingly, after 2011!).

Over that weekend, 110,000 homes and several thousand businesses lost power, and many suffered water damage as well.

Me, my candelabra and Bizeo during the blackout

Me, my candelabra and Bizeo during the blackout

What made it easier to bear was being able to see the green Bizeo indicator on my phone the whole time.  I knew then that I didn’t have to worry about our servers and websites. I knew that we would have power when we turned up at the office the next morning; that our internet connections and phone lines were ok; and that I wouldn’t have to make a treacherous journey in the driving rain to find this out.

If something had gone wrong, Bizeo would’ve told me exactly what it was and enabled me to prepare my staff to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

Today I’m so proud of what my team has created. Looking out my office window at all the other companies around us, I wonder how many of them don’t know about Bizeo yet. I can’t wait to tell them.

On a weekend like that, a monitoring system like Bizeo pays for itself many times over.

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