The Pressure Cooker Principle

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It’s really great being your own boss and being able to run your business the way you want. You don’t have to share the credit for your success with other members of a faceless corporate entity. Of course, when things go wrong, there’s no one else to share the burden. Every businessman has been through both kinds of experiences. But how many know how to deal with the Pressure Cooker Principle (PCP)?

The PCP is nothing to do with cooking or selling kitchen utensils. It’s an analogy for the stress every businessman has to live with and how he deals with it. A pressure cooker works by building up steam pressure inside. This pressure speeds up the cooking process and also prevents a lot of the useful nutrients in the food being lost during the cooking process. The problem with pressure cookers is that if the excess pressure release mechanism fails, it may explode! So what’s this got to do with your business? Read on.

A business needs to be efficient. The more efficient, the more likely it is of being successful. Efficiency is created by work pressure. If your business requires only 4 hours a day of your time, you don’t need to be efficient. But you also are probably not growing. It’s when your business needs 20 hours a day that you need to be efficient so that you can manage everything in a reasonable time frame. That’s working under pressure. Working under pressure is good for you and your business. It keeps you thinking of better solutions and pushes you to perform better. But many people make the mistake of letting the pressure overwhelm then. They don’t have the excess pressure release mechanism and like the pressure cooker, if the pressure gets to great, things blow up.

So how do you revel under pressure but ensure that it doesn’t blow up your business?

• Set your self-reasonable targets – things you can achieve without killing yourself. Sure there is always more to be done, but there are ways of tacking that.
• Know when to outsource. This is the best safety measure. Offloading work reduces the pressure on you.
• Do you need to hire help? Many small business owners shy away from this because of the liabilities of having an employee involves and the stress of recruiting and training which add to the immediate pressure. Sure, there are short-term problems, but in the long run, a growing business will need more than one person. Dividing the workload between 2 or more pressure cookers means the pressure for each one is reduced.

Just as the pressure cooker lets off a whistle when the pressure reaches optimum, know how to spot the signs that your business pressures are reaching the most you can handle. There are hundreds of books about overwork and stress. Read a few and know the signs. Keep listening for the first signs of the pressure cooker whistle and be ready to take action to prevent the vessel from exploding.