As we hit the holiday season, I am confident that many of you haven’t booked any real holiday time off this summer and, if you have, how many of you are actually going to escape completely, switch off and enjoy a relaxing break? I suspect only a few!
Let me explain to you some very important reasons why you should…
Taking a holiday is a very good opportunity to find out how your business functions without you. One of the key strengths of business owners is the desire to be in control but this can also be to our detriment. We struggle to delegate important tasks and it could either be ego or, most probably, down to trust. We far too often believe we are the best person to carry out that task but we should reflect on that well-known recruitment strategy which is, employing people better than ourselves. Well, surely we aren’t giving those key members of our team the chance to excel and show that leadership we recognised when recruiting them.
A question to anyone who thinks this way… How can you ever expect to grow a business unless it can function perfectly well without you? Without the confidence to leave your business in safe hands it is certainly difficult to create a future exit strategy so you can enjoy that permanent holiday in blissful retirement. Anyone in business has to learn to loosen those reigns, take an opportunity to learn about your team and give them the license to excel and run your business in your absence.
Chance to reflect – OK, you are now enjoying a relaxing time in a far-away land and yes, escaping from thinking about your business is probably almost impossible for many of us. However, the positive is the freedom of thought that time away will provide. Business people generally have little time to reflect on the past activities in business or, indeed, think about the future. That time away will help you see the big picture and put some rational thoughts and perspective on how you can make positive improvements within your business. I know of a couple of very successful business people who spend a small amount of time thinking about their business whilst enjoying a well-earned break and some of their best ideas and direction for their businesses have been the result of this far too often rare and unique opportunity to do some planning. You may not escape completely but you can spend some quality time planning the year ahead. I personally find this extremely productive!
Planning for sickness – This doesn’t mean you should be visiting your local GP anytime soon but, if you were to fall sick, is your business sustainable? Can your staff take control and continue to run the business effectively in your absence? Taking a holiday will certainly give you that insight and any issues it does highlight will come to the fore and can be resolved for the future.
We test many aspects of our businesses’ resilience and productiveness on a daily, weekly and annual basis but how often do we test how our business performs should we not be present?
Recovery – Although we are of course, as business owners, rather super human but it is because we are made of flesh and blood and suffer from tiredness, fatigue and, dare I say it, a lack of productivity ourselves, that we also need time to recover and recharge those batteries. It is very easy to fall out of love with our business if we cannot take that step back, relax and recover from the exploits of long hours and finding it difficult to switch off. I firmly believe this is extremely important for this reason: A business owner is the leader of a business and his/her performance is reflective within the rest of the team. If you aren’t productive it is very probable your team will be reflecting this lack of productivity in their own work.
Holiday procrastination – I liken this to that typical family planning process, when is it a good time to start a family? In reality, any time is a good time and you cannot just wait around for that better job or new house. In business there is never a good time in many business owners’ eyes because they feel the business cannot function without them. In my coaching I have mentioned to many owners, I think it is time you took a holiday or some time off, and the reasons for my recommendations are because I witness them in a state of stress and not functioning as I know they can. If they get to this point a holiday is the most important choice they can make.
“Stress and emotional instability in business breeds irrational thoughts and making the wrong choices. That is far more dangerous to a business than taking a week off.”
It’s an investment – Yes it really is an investment in you. You are the most valuable asset in your company and need to be in peak condition to function properly. Work/life balance is incredibly important, not just for the wellbeing of your staff, but also you the business owner.
Can you afford a holiday?
If the answer is no, why are you in business for yourself? We all set out in business to create a better lifestyle for ourselves, greater control over our time, and with more money in our pockets. Why can’t we invest in ourselves and book a much deserved and welcome break or holiday? If you truly cannot afford a holiday then there must be something fundamentally wrong, right?
Perhaps you feel you cannot afford a holiday because you cannot be away from the business. Well this has been covered in the points above. If your business cannot function without you, where is your exit strategy, where is your escape when it suits you? Can you turn off the phone, put on the out of office autoresponder and let your team get on with the dutiful task of running your business? Or do you have those typical thoughts that you have to work extremely hard right up to the eleventh hour just to even be able to or justify taking a holiday?
Get booking now!
As I write this article the sun is bursting through the blinds in my office and the temperature is rising. Whether you take your holiday in the UK or overseas, do not spend the time glued to your laptop, tablet or smart phone. Spend some quality time relaxing. However, if you want to use a small percentage of that time reflecting and planning, which is extremely natural, use that time wisely. Your mind will be uncrowded and your vision for the business much clearer.