As a small business owner, even if the doors are shut, you’re never really ‘closed’. Yet it is so important for business owners and their staff to use the Easter holidays as an opportunity to regroup for the remainder of the year.
Andrew Spring, a partner at Jirsch Sutherland, a specialist insolvency and business recovery practice, says that with many small businesses struggling, business owners are often too frightened to take a break and ‘let go of the reins’, but it can end up doing more harm than good.
“Being a small business owner is tough. But prioritising your health and wellbeing is just as important as tending to your business. Stress can have a huge impact on your ability to run your business and your relationships with suppliers, employees and customers,” says Spring.
Data from the 2016 census suggests that Australian startup founders and small business owners say 10-hour work days are still the norm when building a business.
“Burning out isn’t going to help your business. While no business ever comes to a complete stop, scheduling a bit of downtime will reduce stress and can also improve productivity. However, the time out shouldn’t be wasted. Use the time to think about what you want to achieve between now and Christmas and put a plan in place on how you hope to get there,” says Spring.
“If most of your clients are shutting up shop for an extra couple of days over Easter, it actually might be financially sensible for you to follow suit, or at least maintain skeleton staff. There’s no point incurring the costs required to keep your business operating if times are quiet.”
Springs top 5 tips
- Make mobile working an extension of your office: Choosing the right technology is key to flexible working. By investing in the right devices, mobile working can facilitate seamless communication from anywhere at any time – so what’s your excuse for not going away for a few days?
- Reset, recharge and refocus: Technology allows us to ‘always be on’, which definitely has its advantages in business – but it’s also important to take the time to switch off altogether to allow yourself to reset, recharge and refocus – even if it’s just for a few hours. To put your mind at ease, let your staff know so they’re not alarmed if they don’t hear from you right away.
- Take a health check: It’s so easy for business owners to get bogged down in operations, often missing key warning signs of failing financial health. Use the time over Easter to do a quick ‘health check’ of your business and if you are going off track, make a plan to seek advice to set you back on the right course before it’s too late.
- Have a contingency plan: Before you close the door and head off on your break, have a contingency plan in place in case of events such as client emergencies, power outages or IT failures. Planning ahead will ensure a restful, well-deserved break.
- Do your homework: Often we are too busy with the day-to-day that we forget to stop and look around. Use the time to complete something that’s been on your list for a while, such as research a new idea, or take a close look at what your competitors are doing and think about how you can improve, and get ahead in your business.
“We see first-hand the pressures that business owners face all throughout the year and it can take its toll both financially and emotionally. Easter is a good time to take a well-deserved break, to allow business owners to not only survive but thrive the rest of the year,” says Spring.
“Businesses who have concerns about managing the requirements of the holidays period should seek professional help as soon as possible,” says Spring. “Options do exist and it’s important to explore them. Put simply, it’s important to speak with your advisers – accountants, legal representatives or an insolvency specialist – before it’s too late.”