WHEN did you last have a holiday? According to recent research, it was a long time ago - assuming you're a small business owner.
It doesn't have to be that way, but the reality is; most small business owners rarely take holidays. This is not (as some would suggest) because running their business is a fun and relaxing activity anyway!
Enlightened business owners have bought into the work/life balance mantra for their team, but it's a foreign concept for their personal lives. Clearly, it is an issue that needs to be addressed by each individual business owner, and I cannot possibly address all of the issues that may be preventing an individual business owner from packing their bags and heading off into the wild blue yonder.
What I can do is encourage you by listing a few positives for extracting yourself from the day-to-day excitement of your small business.
1. It proves that your business can/cannot run without you.
If you have developed systems to allow your business to operate without you, the best way to test that is to remove yourself from the equation and let the system run riot! If you aren't that confident, aim for a short break somewhere within phone reception - but give the system a chance!
2. Convince yourself that the holiday is actually market research.
Wherever you go, the chances are that there will be other businesses offering similar goods and services, and observing what they do well (or poorly!) will give you ideas to improve your business. Make sure you take notes (or photos) to remind you of these brilliant ideas when you return to reality.
3. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Enough said! While you are at the coal face of your business, your problems may seem overwhelming. By removing yourself, you are able to see things from a fresh perspective - and the problems may not seem to be as large. Returning to your business with a changed attitude may make all the difference to the solutions.
4. Holidays are rewarding.
You've worked long and hard in and for your business, so you deserve a reward. Do not feel guilty while you are lying on the beach sipping cocktails...your team believes they are entitled to at least four weeks break per year, so why should you be any different?
Of course, I need to issue a word of caution before you start making your itinerary - you must have the fundamentals of a business firmly in place. This includes well-trained staff and well-developed systems, not just a 'job with extra headaches' business that relies solely on you. I suspect this is why holidays are such a rarity for the small business community. We often hear how hard it is to find good people - but that's a topic for another day.
Just remember, get your staff and systems sorted - and then you can have all the sun, surf and sand you want!