Why Small Biz Owners Should Take Time Off

Speaking to any small business owner, it's very clear that time is the resource they lack the most.

There is always one more thing to do and typically not a large staff with which to get it done. The thought of taking time away from the business, while very attractive, is also very daunting. It can seem like an impossible task and often just easier to stay than go.

Time off from a business is essential to the success and longevity of the business. But what I often hear from owners -- especially in the last five years -- is they haven't had a vacation since they started their business. They are tired and pretty much fried, the business has become all-encompassing. This dedication is not only detrimental to the person -- it's bad for the health of the business.

Time away is key for so many reasons. It allows the person to rejuvenate and evaluate their business. Having that time to step away is essential, especially since working can quickly slip into autopilot mode, and strategic thinking starts to decline in favor of "just getting stuff done."

Preparing to get away helps an owner have a better understanding of what they do. It presents an opportunity to evaluate systems and workload. If a person can't step away, then it's time to find out why not. There can be many reasons for this feeling. Two of the most common are:

1) Ineffective use of staff, often because of a lack of proper training or understanding of the expectations.

2) Unwillingness to delegate, or the feeling it's easier to do it myself than explain it.

These problems are often linked together – it's unlikely you have one and not the other.

Both are problems that are commonly seen and typically are tied together. If you recognize this in yourself and want to change it, I'd recommend Birnbach Success Solutions. Sheila Birnbach is an expert in teaching delegations skills. She often runs through an exercise in her courses to demonstrate the power of delegation. For example, if you could successfully delegate a task that typically takes an hour a week it would save you 52 hours per year – that's almost a week and a half of time you would get back. And that's just from one task. Imagine the possibilities.

It may seem like jumping off a cliff to take time off but what it can do for you, your business and even your employees can be transformative. If a vacation seems impossible, start with just a day: no email and no calls. It will be amazing how much clearer you can see things when your return. I am now starting my day off. 

Melissa Flynn is passionate about her community and passionate about her job as the executive director for the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce. For the past seven years she has been creating a sense of place that has helped to transform the Lincoln Square community. Flynn is a skilled and experienced executive with a proven track record of creating a successful business climate balanced by strong values of sustainability and community. Under her leadership in 2011, the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce achieved the highly coveted three-star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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