As a small business owner the issue of holidays can be a sticky one. This isn’t because of the seaside rock or the kiss-me-quick hat.
You know you deserve a break because you’ve been working flat out all winter.
Your friends/family are putting pressure on you to take a break, they want to book it NOW.
One of the reasons you chose to work for yourself was to have a better quality of life.
Do you even dare leave your business for a couple of weeks?
Will your clients desert you if their queries go unanswered?
Who will deal with urgent issues?
Will you come back to such a mess that you regret the holiday?
According to elite magazine’s Aug 2015 edition, 20% of SME owners won’t take a summer break, that’s over a million people. A further 30% said they would take a break but only if they could stay in the UK to keep an eye on their business. But a survey from Xero shows an even worse story with 76% of small business owners saying that they won’t take a break. Even worse the Xero article goes on to show suitable apps so entrepreneurs can stay in touch on the beach. Easy today and many claim to live the ‘laptop lifestyle’ but that isn’t taking a holiday is it?
Actually taking a total break from your business will boost your productivity. Time away from work will encourage idea generation and give a much needed refocusing on what is important.
There is a direct correlation between number of hours worked and productivity as brainies at The Economist showed us when they told us to ‘Get a Life’ with this graph. The longer hours worked in a country, the less productive that country is.
John Pencavel of Stanford University, published a paper about working hours and showed that reducing working hours is necessary for productivity: output is proportional to hours. Above a threshold, output rises at a decreasing rate as hours increase. So in theory if you don’t take a decent break you could end up in a situation where you’re in negative productivity after a few years. You’re doing more harm than good. Also known as burn-out, which is a serious issue.
Here are our top tips for a bit of forward planning to prepare your business for a break:
– Practice going on holiday by taking a few days off – next week for example.
– Prepare staff with training in advance or get a virtual assistant to help out.
– If you’re not already, schedule your social media in advance by joining Hootsuite (free of charge for a month.)
– Get wages, expenses, invoices and credit control up to date in the month before you go away.
– Ask your network or colleagues in the same industry to job swap, they cover for you and vice versa.
– Don’t book a holiday at month end or year end or tax man deadline times.
– Employ a call handling company to tell your customers you’re in a meeting. (You can scan read their messages, so no surprises when you get back.)
Get some sand between your toes!