Okay. Christmas has come and gone and another New Year’s celebration is in the books. Hopefully you got the chance to have a break from running your business. If not, unless Christmas is your busiest time of year (as it is for many retailers) then you need to ask yourself why you didn’t take the time to step away and recharge your batteries for the new year.
Small business owners are particularly susceptible to getting consumed by their business, to the detriment of themselves, their family, their friends and their business too! Yes, spending all your time focusing on your business can actually be bad for your business, and here’s why.
When you work for someone else, you will most likely get somewhere around four weeks holiday each year. On top of that you should have sick leave and may also have carers and maternity leave. If you have a Monday to Friday job, you also get weekends away from work to unwind. Even if you do shift work of some sort, you are still likely to have one or two days off each week.
Compare that to the average small business owner. If they are operating as a sole trader, they probably do things like accounts and administration at home after hours. They are likely to work longer than average hours and are unlikely to take time off, either for holidays or due to illness. Even on weekends, there is a better than even chance that they are worrying about work for at least part of their time off.
Now before you break out the violins, this article isn’t intended to be a sympathy piece for small business owners. If the business goes well, they will likely end up earning well above the average wage. The point of the previous two paragraphs is that a business owner who never gets any time away from the business will end up hurting the business. You will have heard the saying, ‘can’t see the forest for the trees.’ This certainly applies to business owners that never take the time to step away from the day-to-day tasks involved in maintaining a business to look at the broader picture of where their business is, and where they want it to go.
In order to do that, it is best to get away for a while, switch off and relax. Then when it is time to come back to work, start by looking at all your operations with a fresh pair of eyes and a view towards overall improvements. If you are in the position that you never feel comfortable taking a break from your business, set yourself a goal in 2017 to learn how to take a holiday, and understand that your business will be better off for it!
By Jennifer Lowe