The stresses and strains of being a small business owner can easily take their toll. With nearly half of entrepreneurs working over 50 hours a week, it can be a challenge to find time to recharge and invest in yourself.
You may ask why that matters.
When your mind is relaxed and clear, fresh ideas will flow. You can find time for strategic planning, such as exploring new markets and customer segments. Taking time to decompress also safeguards your health, which is the most important thing of all for both your life and your business, particularly if you’re a solo operator or have a small staff.
Here are a few ways that business owners can invest in themselves in 2018:
Switch off notifications and enjoy a vacation
While approximately two-thirds of business owners see taking vacation as ultimately beneficial to their company, roughly half take off only major holidays – or no time at all. In fact, 24% of small business owners only take a day off here and there. The majority claim they worry about the work and responsibilities they would be missing during their time off.
But even the hardest working small business owners need a break to decompress. It’s amazing how visiting new geographies and cultures can alter your perspective and inspire new directions and initiatives for your business. Often, small business owners don’t have the luxury of business travel like employees of bigger companies. Personal trips can serve as a useful option to explore and gain invaluable knowledge.
We know it’s not easy to step away from your livelihood. That’s why it’s good to begin planning at least two months ahead of a trip and over-communicate your leave to your team. Fulfilling a to-do-list prior to your vacation while preparing employees for their expanded roles can also help calm your nerves.
Deepen your experience and skill set through education and events
In addition to full-blown vacations, mixing up your day-to-day through educational activities such as training courses can refresh and motivate you and your staff. This can be accomplished by attending out-of-town conferences or by simply listening to educational podcasts or online tutorials. Taking the time for personal education and events can also help build employee trust, as by investing in yourself, you are also investing in the future of your business.
For example, say you’re the owner of a local auto repair shop looking to hone your management skills. You could check out evening courses at a local college, or potential symposiums nearby that serve as both an educational and networking resource. Or perhaps you have a long commute each morning to open up your sporting goods store. Listening to West Point graduates Michael Auzenne and Mark Horstman’s podcast, Manager Tools, is a productive way to occupy that time.
Streamline the tasks that are on your plate
Whether it’s taking time for vacation or continuing education, pursue an all-hands-on-deck approach. Avoid micromanaging and show faith in your staff by delegating. This will take items off your plate and ready employees to work on their own when you’re gone.
Additionally, use automation services to fulfill routine tasks. Services such as Hootsuite can help grow your social media presence across more than 35 global networks, while all-in-one providers such as HubSpot can help formulate sales and marketing solutions. This allows you to focus on the tasks that require your individual attention and skills.
Everyone deserves a break, and especially dedicated small business owners. Rather than refusing to step away from each problem that comes your company’s way, taking time off can allow you to tackle your work with a new perspective and renewed enthusiasm. These moments away from the office also serve as an opportunity for your team to bond and take responsibility, and to position your business for sustained success.