As empowering as small business can be, it can come at a great cost. Too often business owners fail to step away from their business and capitalise on the work/life balance that drew them into business in the first place.
In fact, as a business mentor, it’s one of the most common issues I encounter – the small business owner who cannot take a break from their business due to the fear (real or imagined) it won’t continue without them.
But it begs the question: do you need a break from your business?
Chances are the answer is yes, so let’s explore the benefits of doing that and how to go about it.
Some truly sobering stat’s
Way back in 2015, a survey by Xero found 57 per cent of small business owners had not enjoyed a holiday in the 12 months prior, while 23 per cent hadn’t had a holiday in two years.
The likelihood is little has changed in the six years since and the interruption that has been Covid absolutely doesn’t count.
The survey went on to note the following reasons for failing to take a well-earned break:
- They need to be available at all times as they are the decision maker (42 per cent)
- They can’t take holidays as they are the sole employee (37 per cent)
- They are too busy to take holidays (25 per cent)
- They are unable to relax if they don’t know what’s going on with their business (32 per cent).
Sound familiar? I’m betting at least one of the above does. But there are very real benefits that come from stepping back from your business.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
To put it succinctly there are three main reasons you should take a break from your business.
Firstly, and most importantly, a little rest and relaxation is in the interests of your mental and physical health.
It’s also important to note that distance offers perspective, and the reality is time away from the daily grind can actually make you more productive.
Meanwhile, taking a break is about understanding the reasons you’re in business in the first place. For most small business operators that’s to create a lifestyle they can enjoy with their family and friends.
But while a business might satisfy the financial side of that equation, if you don’t allocate the time to be present in the moment and enjoy the fruits of your labour, then what is the point?
So how can you go about taking time out from your business?
Five ways to take time out
- Make a time (and stick to it) – Check your calendar (go on I challenge you to right now). Every business has quieter periods and it’s important to utilise them by taking a step back.
Find your business’ down time and block a holiday that corresponds with it.
- Prepare in advance – This is by far the trickiest step and may take some planning.
If you’re a business that employs staff, prepare them in advance by delegating relevant tasks or implementing the systems and procedures that allow them to do the job to the standard you expect, even in your absence.
If you are a sole operator, a little more creativity might be required.
- a) complete additional work in advance,
- b) outsource, or
- c) set up a reciprocal arrangement with someone you trust in the same field where they cover your jobs, and you take a small cut.
- Tell your clients – It’s not a weakness to take a holiday, so inform your clients in advance that you will be away for a period. This will help them plan for the work they need completed by a set deadline, and also mitigate those pesky emails and calls you might get when away.
- You’re only a phone call or email away – This point comes with a caveat; ideally you should not be working normal hours while away.
Instead, email or phone contact should be by necessity only because your staff have been trained, you have a plan in place, and your clients have been informed.
However, checking into what’s going on in your business may help you rest assured that all is well, even in your absence. But that does bring us to point 5.
- A set check-in time – If you do intend to check-in or have contact with your business staff, make a set time and stick to it. This time might be an hour between 9am and 10am each day when you will be available to answer questions, respond to emails, pay wages etc.
This set period ensures you remain abreast of what’s going on in your business, but still you have the downtime required to recharge, revive, and subsequently reinvest the energy required into your business.
If you’re looking to grow, improve or realise the potential of your business, I’m available to assist with planning, goal setting, and proven strategies all focused on business expansion and growth.