The first year or two of any start up can take up your every waking hour, but after the initial madness entrepreneurs need to adjust their pace of work or risk burnout.
While many would be business tycoons may dream of taking a break in reality few do so. Last year a survey of 1000 small business owners conducted by ‘Make it Cheaper’ identified that 14% had no plans to take a holiday, 59% said they were afraid of burning out and 20% found it impossible to switch off from work.
Frequently the big problem for owner managers is that there is nobody that they can leave the business to if they decide to take a break.
Once a business reaches a certain size it is vital to have structures and systems in place that allow the owner to take a step back if they wish to. This means delegating responsibilities to employees and giving them the power to make decisions (and also mistakes!). It also requires personal discipline to turn mobiles off as well as refrain from picking up emails when away on holiday. Being in constant touch with the business is not healthy in the long run as it doesn’t give the opportunity to relax.
While some degree of stress is important as it is motivating and stimulating too much will have the opposite effect.
One of the problems with entrepreneurs is that they have the skills to set up a business and make it work to start with, they may not have the skills to manage a more complex larger business and keep it moving forward. This often requires entrepreneurs to move from working ‘in their business’ to ‘on their business’ which can be difficult, challenging and stressful, particularly if they realise that the new skills they need do not match what they are good at.
One of the secrets therefore is to work out what particular aspect of your business is causing you most pressure and then get help with it. This may mean using a business or executive coach to guide you or investing in learning and development for yourself. Alternatively, it could mean hiring someone to take on certain business responsibilities or possibility sub-contracting them to a specialist firm
Whatever you decide, for your own personal health and well-being it is important to do something. Even doing small things can make a big difference. However, it is also vital to recognise the worst thing that you can do is do nothing.