Business owner: No time to go away this holiday?

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If the thought of leaving your business for a much-needed annual break scares you spitless, you might be making these common entrepreneur mistakes…

There were probably a few good reasons you started your business; with one of them no doubt being the fact that you’d be the boss of your time. Why is it then that you’re the first to arrive and the last to leave, you don’t know what a weekend looks like anymore, and the idea of taking leave for a fortnight to go on holiday is almost offensive? These are five fatal mistakes you might be making, as well as how you can fix them:

1.You have no purpose – Set a clear vision, mission and culture for your business. If you don’t have a purpose, you will be swayed by every opinion, client brief, supplier mood and staff issue. If you have a clear goal you’ll know which tasks you need to do, and which you should walk away from. Don’t just have a long term vision for the business, but give each day a mission or vision – set yourself a goal of completing two important tasks for the day. That way, your diary will become a lot more productive and purposeful. You might just find that you can leave the office at a normal hour.

2. You’re not willing to adapt or improve – Kodak and Instagram. You all know what happened there. Kodak, founded in 1880 and employing at its peak nearly 145,300 people, went under in the same year that Instagram sold to Facebook for over one billion dollars. Can you imagine if Kodak – essentially offering the same product as Instagram – had adapted? Its purpose was still the same, but it failed to stay relevant or reinvent itself to adapt to the changing landscape of customer needs. There are always better ways of doing things. Learn to adapt.

3. You’re not seeing your staff as your best asset – If you are only focused on sales, bottom line, production and turnover, then you are quite possibly overlooking your most valuable product: your employees. They deal with your customers, handle your projects and services, and ultimately represent your brand. If they are not taken care of they will probably have little loyalty and could potentially damage your brand. Recognise excellence, reward innovation, pay their salaries before your own, and give them time off. They, in turn, will take very good care of you, and your business.

4. You’re not delegating  – Which leads me to this delicate point. Delegating is a real trust exercise, but if you intend on ever leaving your desk long enough to go to the loo, let alone vacation, you need to learn to delegate. At its core, delegating is a talent and systems question, not a control issue. Hire the right people and invest in the right business operating software that empowers your staff to manage the sales, order and production phases of your business, and you will find it easier to delegate. As a result, your staff will feel accountable and responsible, which in itself is empowering, and you can start focusing more on the big stuff, like time with your family.

5. You’re missing the importance of work-life balance – The trap here is to believe that the busier we are, the more successful we will be. Tests have shown that healthy, rested people get more done, and do it better, than tired, overworked people. Even better when you have systems in place that allow you to rest and be healthy: Order tracking, robust accounts systems, operating systems, etc. will ensure you have time to take a step back and exhale. Small business owners also need to realise that today’s top talent is often wooed by flexible working arrangements. By offering your employees some work flexibility—i.e., they can work from home, on the road or in the office, whichever they prefer— as long as your business operating system can support this flexibility. By doing so, you’re likely to see your employee retention statistics improve, making your company that much stronger, and your time more balanced.

Author bio: Heinrich van der Vyver is the founder of QuickEasy Software’s Business Operating Software (BOS). BOS is a fully integrated operating system that makes information – and control – available to business owners.



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