Date: 02/05/2015 | By: Alison Tarry

It’s true – when you find yourself really up against it, it can feel like the demands of running a small business outweigh the rewards. As well as delivering products and services for your clients, as a small business owner you can end up being marketing manager, salesperson, book-keeper, credit controller, administrator and receptionist. That’s a lot of different hats to wear. Sometimes it can all feel that little bit ‘too much’.


Feelings of overwhelm are surprisingly common amongst small business owners – especially when circumstances are unfamiliar or demands seem urgent or threatening. Often, these feelings kick in at just the wrong moment – that exact moment when your business demands that you should be charging ahead and firing on all cylinders. If you find yourself in this predicament remember you’re not alone, it happens to the best of us. However it’s what we do in this situation that can make or break our businesses. Whilst the feeling itself is never pleasant, the good news is it’s only temporary: whatever is thrown your way, there are always options available, things you can do, support you can call upon, actions you can take and decisions you can make that will keep you moving forward in the right direction.


Feeling overwhelmed is often a dangerous situation to be in, especially if it persists. Staying out of that trap should be a top priority not just for the health of the business but for your own health as well. It can seem like the tools or resources aren’t there to fulfill our wants or needs but more often than not they are: sometimes we just need to get creative, switch our perspective, seek the necessary support and re-structure our thought process or action plan.

When you consciously adjust the way you see things, looking for solutions and benefits rather than problems and barriers, you are much more likely to find them.


Take the famous story of the two shoe salesmen for example…


“Nobody wears shoes”

The story goes that in the late nineteenth century, just as colonial Africa was opening up as a market, a number of Victorian shoe manufacturers sent representatives over to Africa to see if there was an opportunity there for them to sell their wares.

The various representatives all eventually came back with the same answer. ‘Nobody in Africa wears shoes. So, there is no market for our products there.’

All, that is, bar one. He came back saying, ‘Nobody in Africa wears shoes. So, there’s a huge market for our products in Africa!’ 

This simple short story provides one of the best examples of how a single situation may be viewed in two very different ways. Sometimes you have to adapt your way of thinking to uncover more successful ways of doing business.