How Startups Can Address Stress Before It Becomes an Issue

If your people really are your greatest asset, everything else can take a back seat

The tricky problem of stress in a startup

All jobs come with stress, some more than others, some much, much more than others. No one should need to equate or compare the inherent stress that comes with the job title of entrepreneur to that of surgeon, firefighter, or air traffic controller.

What proactive response means in a limited-resource environment

Stress issues can surface in different behaviors and stem from different causes. Unless you’re clinically trained to diagnose mental-health issues, being proactive about identifying and responding to their precursors can be a quagmire of indecision and misunderstanding.

  1. A well-lit path out of the environment.
  2. Options for self-driven or professional solutions.
  1. Establishing programs and constantly communicating their existence.
  2. Short-term, medium-term, and long-term policy for leave.

The root of all stress

We can’t make a startup any less stressful. When you’re expected to take next to nothing and turn that into something amazing, stress is part of the plan. But we can control how stress flows through our startup, and it starts with identifying the main culprits.

Preventative maintenance

A lot of preventative maintenance isn’t found in a program, it’s mostly personal. And by that I mean leadership has to understand the people they’re leading, what their own personal and professional growth goals are, and how they react to failure.

Programs should be exit ramps

When I was a younger fellow, the last person I wanted to share my problems with was my boss. The second-to-last person I wanted in my business was the head of HR. You want your employees to be able to raise their hand without everyone prying into why.

Why we’re at a startup

Look, I’ll let you in on a secret. We’re not at a startup to meet quarterly results. We just aren’t. Investors can expect this, sales can push for it, but ultimately we’re in this for other reasons.

I’m a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. Sold ExitEvent. Building & GetSpiffy. Former Automated Insights. More info at

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