Our Much Needed Break Away!

It had been 21 months of 70 – 80-hour work weeks (weekends included) along with the demands of a toddler and a lifestyle block, and some building projects, it was fair to say we were BUSY! As new business owners, we were always trying new things and welcoming new opportunities. When opportunities (and more work) presented themselves — the answer was always yes. It’s do-able for a while but that sort of work schedule isn’t sustainable for the long term and after nearly 2 years we really starting to feel the burn. “Tired” does not even come close to describing how exhausted we were. That’s when we realized we needed a break.

So, we booked ourselves a HOLIDAY. Fiji. Far away from work. We decided to also use this opportunity to take my 76-year-old mother on her first overseas trip.

Then the long countdown until departure day. There was still plenty to prepare. Passports to apply for and renew, stop over hotels to book, packing etc, etc.

During this lead up to our holiday we had two employees resign and leave. It wasn’t unexpected, but the timing wasn’t ideal. Fortunately, we had had Amanda join the team shortly before hand and her knowledge and experience in the tile industry allowed her to hit the ground running.

Finally, it was time to go.

BULA! Fiji was amazing. Lots of warm days, beaches, pools and cocktails.

Did we get much of a break? Well in truth, no, not really. The books that we had planned to read never even got opened. Our days were full, taking care of our little guy and my mother, but still it was a different change of pace and scenery. I did get to spend a couple of evenings wandering around with the camera, so we got to capture some of that spectacular scenery, and we can use our Fiji photos as our screensavers to remind us that we all need to take a break sometimes and to start scheduling and planning our next trip away.

Upon returning to work this week we were thrilled to discover that the staff coped extremely well without us and now it seems that they don’t really need us at all.

Are you one of those employees that never uses their holidays? Are you a business owner or self-employed who never takes a break from the business?

It turns out, we are not alone. Small-business owners work more and play less than people who work for others. About 31 percent of entrepreneurs work at least 10 hours a day, and 15 percent work every day of the week, according to a Discover Small Business Watch survey. The poll also found that 59 percent of respondents define a day off as being available for calls and emails or working at least part of the day.

Why taking a break is a good idea!

The truth is, this kind of work pace is unsustainable. Creativity suffers, resilience falters and one’s sense of accomplishment plummets. The solution? Take a vacation or a short break from our stress-ridden lives.

And how, exactly, is it possible for a business owner / entrepreneur to take a break?

Here are some simple steps you can take yourself:

Think about whether a break makes sense for you, and how you’re going to make it happen. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for every business owner, since needs can vary so much across industries. Think about why you want to take time off? When would you take it? Would someone step in to take care of business while you were away, or would you notify customers and clients that the business would be closed?

You can either turn your business over to a capable employee to run the day-to-day operations during your time away or ask a trusted friend who is also an entrepreneur to oversee the business. It’s a good idea to have somebody like this in mind regardless, in case you’re forced to take an unplanned break one day. The person/s you are turning the business over to only need to be able to service customers, listen, solve problems and keep employee morale high.

Lastly, preparation is extremely important - especially if you want to make the most of your time off you should:

- Document your workflow and processes for those who will be filling in for you

- Take care of unfinished business issues before you go away, if possible

- Prepare your backup for any potential issues that may come along.

- Ensure your liability and insurance policies are up to date

- Let everyone know important contact information, including that of accountants, lawyers, technical support and building maintenance.

- Communicate in advance your plan and backup plan to all your customers and clients so they know what to expect and whom to call.

......and most importantly.......

just be sure you take care of yourself and make it happen.

Ross and June

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