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How to switch off when you’re a small business owner

01 Jun 2018

Article by Xero country manager Craig Hudson

Off the back of a recent holiday, I started thinking about the importance of really switching off when you’re out of the office.

While it may seem that there’s never a good time to take a break, particularly as a small business owner, it can be beneficial to both your mental health and your business’s performance.

Taking time out allows you to focus on those important to you and strengthen relationships, which can be a vital reboot after the craziness that is the end of financial year.

It also gives you time to reflect on how the business is going and can even present moments of innovation to solve those problems that have stumped you for a while.

Finally, it will empower your team to know that they can be trusted with running the business smoothly.

It’s always easier said than done, so here are a few tips to leave your office in top shape, and your mind at ease, when you jet off on that much needed holiday.

It really can still be ‘business as usual’ while you’re not around.

Appoint someone to act on your behalf

As the business owner, your team comes to you for the final say on big decisions.

That’s why you need to appoint someone to make these calls for you and keep the team motivated while you’re out of office.

Service outages, crises, and big announcements can all happen unexpectedly, so it’s important that there is someone around so you don’t have to deal with it on holiday.

Plan ahead - make comprehensive notes and reminders for them so they are aware of any tasks that need addressing.

Knowing that your job will be done successfully while you are away removes the worry of having to pick up the pieces when you get back.

Prepare for any important meetings, provide contact details for key people and logins for relevant platforms, and delegate smaller tasks to the rest of the team so they aren’t snowed under.

Lastly, make sure the team is aware of who is taking over, by updating your work status on internal platforms or sending out an email reminder.

Disconnect your work email from your phone

Taking a proper break means fully switching off.

If you’ve appointed people to make decisions on your behalf, then your business won’t need you while you’re vacationing.

You’ve built a strong team that is self-sufficient, so have faith in that. Disconnect your work email from your phone - or better yet switch off from the internet entirely. Your break is for you and those who are with you. There is no need to be reminded of tasks you need to do when you get home.

Automate your tasks using technology

Set up an automatic out of office email response and include the contact details of who to contact if it is urgent.

You may even want to automatically forward all emails along to a designated person so you know they aren’t missing anything while you’re away.

It’s also a good idea to schedule social media posts or blogs ahead of time so that you know the platforms are being updated.

In the Xero platform, it’s also possible to set up automatic invoice reminders for upcoming and late payments so you don’t need to worry about any cash flow concerns while you’re away.

We live in a world where technology can help make our lives much easier, so learn to utilise it.

Reflect on your goals and achievements

Being the owner of a thriving small business can take away from your downtime.

It’s important to take some time to reflect on what you’ve achieved in the past year, and what your goals for the future are.

This will also motivate you so that when you return to work you bring with you a fresh energy to get the job done.

It’s never easy leaving a business in someone else’s hands, especially if that business is your baby, but it’s a necessity for your success.

So, take that beach holiday, plan a ski trip, or just switch off and visit friends or family, knowing that your business will be better off for it.

Whatever it is that gives you the time to reflect and refresh, do it.

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