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Are you a small business owner? Find time to switch off!

Small business owners typically take far less time off than employed individuals and struggle to strike a good work-life balance. This leads us to the question; have you thought about taking a break recently?

According to a study carried out by Direct Line for Business, many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are struggling to stay on top of their workloads, with bosses working long hours to ensure that their business is operating smoothly and that they are fulfilling their tax and compliance responsibilities.

The research revealed that as many as one in eight (16 per cent) SME decision-makers had not taken any time off in the past 12 months. This figure increased to 18 per cent among micro-businesses with 10 or fewer employees – and rose to a third (33 per cent) among even smaller sole traders.

A fifth of those surveyed reported finding it difficult to ‘switch off’ when they did take time away from the business and many were fearful of the impact that taking time off would have.

However, taking a break is not just important for your own health, but also for the health of your business. Here are just a few good reasons to make time for some down time:

1. Avoid unnecessary stress and burn-out

Owning and running a small business (or any business for that fact) can be extremely demanding; from retaining staff, keeping up with the competition and meeting customer needs to just generally making sure your operation runs like clockwork.

Taking a break provides you with the perfect opportunity to unwind and can be the key to avoiding unnecessary burn-out. Thinking of nothing but your business 24/7 can be more of a hindrance than a help, as mounting stress impedes your ability to make good decisions and maximise your performance.

Allow yourself some down time and, chances are, you’ll prevent potential issues further down the line.

2. A fresh perspective

Getting away from the office environment and leaving your emails, texts and meetings behind can be good for your business. Sitting at your desk 365 days a year is a quick way to incite stagnation and sluggishness.

A change of scenery and a chance to clear your mind can work wonders and your brain will be buzzing with new ideas before you know it!

3. Learn more about your business

It perhaps sounds counterintuitive, but by taking a break from your business you might learn a little more about it.

Despite what you might think, it’s actually very rare that a business will suffer a critical issue whilst the proprietor is on vacation. Biting the bullet and spending some time away from work might be what you need to reassure you that your business won’t suffer if you switch off for a week.

In addition, if you’re lucky enough to have a team of people working for you, leaving them in charge, whilst you recharge, presents the perfect opportunity to see how they pull together in your absence.

Things tend to look different when you’re on the outside looking in, so use the opportunity to gain a new perspective to your advantage.

4. What do we work for?

What do we work for, if not to enjoy the fruits of our labour? After ploughing all your time and energy into improving profits and growing your business throughout the year, you should at least be able to benefit from the results once in a while.

Don’t work so hard that you lose sight of why you started your business in the first place.

Here at George Hay We work with small businesses every day, offering them the support and advice they need to succeed in running an efficient operation. We can take care of your accounting and outsourcing needs, giving you more time to work towards your goals and nurture your business, but also giving you peace of mind when it does come time to take a well-earned break.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can help, have a look around our website.

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