This is the 3rd and final of the Zero Cost series, advising on doing business on a shoe string. This instalment concentrates on a health- related issue. It’s safe to say most micro businesses will not have a budget for counselling & stress advice in the work environment, yet from
“Herzberg’s Hygiene Factors to Feng Shui the importance of the immediate surrounding, in improving mood, is well articulated”.
For those running micro businesses with numerous daily pressures, particularly for women, with added home responsibilities, it is easy to become oblivious to the symptoms of stress, or not recognise them at all. Worse there’s no boss to blame & is often self – inflicted. Lack of adequate planning, work - life balance, growing the business too fast, are some of the things that can lead to self – inflicted stress. Being aware of the impact and symptoms of stress is the first step in the right direction. Credible free help & guides can be found on the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) website -
In November 2015, courtesy of Hajnal Zdravics, Enterprising Female ran a mini workshop, on eating habits & stress, outlining simple techniques to cope with stress or potential stressful situations. For a copy of the accompanying slides, check out this link Also, Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) offer free advisory services on many work related issues including a guide on stress As a micro business, free resources such as these, help ensure good work practice, if you engage employees or sub - contractors. Importantly, they can also be used as a self -help guide, for the business owner.
A Personal Solution.
Now recovering from a long bout of ill health, I realised the role stress played in my situation. As I begin to plan getting into the full swing of things, I took some simple steps to change my workspace. For many self - employed or micro business, in professional services, work can be isolating. Networking certainly helps to break this constraint. When I ran my consultancy from an office, I had the obligatory plant in the corner somewhere but never sought to enhance the office, with full floral arrangement. I enjoy gardening and love flora. This year, as Spring began, seeing the blooms in parks & trees turn green, I realised what quite joy they brought. I knew instantly I needed to replicate this in my work space & it’s worked.
Find what works for you. Could be plants, Mindfulness art, pictures, mood light, for those late- night catch – ups, soft meditative music, or all these things (I do all, for extra boost but use CDs, rather than earplugs, so I hear the phone!). Getting the benefits of stress free environment in large offices, often costs huge sums of money & professional input. For zero cost, stress free environment, try the steps & guides I note, above.
To conclude, my advice for the micro business owners is, de-stress your environment, de-stress your life, your work and health, will be more productive, for it.
I make no recommendations, nor veracity about the websites and information to which I refer.
Today I want to share my thoughts on business ethics. From the financial crises to fracking & global warming, a moral dilemma confronts corporations. In the case of the financial crises, it seems there were failures all round. Individuals, organizations and economics, conspired to a moral dilemma, that led to unethical behaviour, not regulated by law, or compliance. The same is true for micro business.
My Professional Ethics
Belonging to professional associations, imposes some rules of engagement, in my business dealings but still gives raise to potential conflict of interest. For example, in the delivery of some consulting work, I was engaged by an organization, with clear ulterior motives. I could not betray the trust of those on whose behalf I was working (moral dilemma 1) but did not want to be party to an agenda that was not in the best interest of the client (dilemma 2). In the end, I made the decision to navigate the situation, mindful of both commitments, by modifying my behaviour and method of delivery. The point is, ethics is personal to the individual. It is a leaning for, or away from personal morals and making a conscience decision, to comply with ethics of business.
The Ethics of the International Development Industry
The international development sector is an industry, complete with standards of engagement, such as equality and diversity. Sadly, glaringly, it is unable to live up to the standards, it professes. Overt racism is rife, leading to an industry that is almost without exception ‘white,’ despite the industry addressing ethnically sensitive issues. There is still a huge gap between theory and practice.
Having examined the state of my industry, my ability to effect change and raise the standards of practice, I:
1. Started Enterprising Female, which I hope to be able to export abroad
2. Manage responsibly, for example, reach out to existing organizations that can bring value to micro business women, even if they are competitors.
3. Give value for money, with a central theme to support, rather than profit.
4. Gain deeper insight into sustainability and responsibility to embed more fully, into personal practice.
As a micropreneur, are you ethically aware when you do business? Do you make professional decisions based on ethics? Let me have your thoughts.