In 2016 – nearly half a million small business owners didn’t take a single break at Christmas. Hands up, if you were one of them?
If not, then perhaps you were one of the 2.8 million small business owners who worked over the Christmas holiday in some capacity?
We’ll get into the reasons as to ‘why’ below, but with such a staggering amount of small business owners not switching off over the Christmas period, there is a genuine fear and misconception that ploughing through is part and parcel of being a small business owner.
Which begs the question: Can Small Business Owners Actually Stop Over Christmas?
Can Small Business Owners Actually Stop Over Christmas?
One of the biggest problems small business owners face is the reality that shutting the doors will put a crucial dent in their profit.
Out of a survey taken – 34% of business owners said they couldn’t afford to take any time off over the Christmas holiday period. If they didn’t plough through, then they wouldn’t survive.
A further 17% couldn’t take time off because they didn’t have enough staff to cover over this period. They cited that the cost of finding and training staff takes too much of a toll on their time and bank balance.
Data like this gives us all more reason to expect the same figures this Christmas time in 2017, especially with the National Living & Minimum wages continually increasing.
On the bright side, the remaining amount of business owners decide to push through, not because of necessity, but due to sheer passion and dedication!
That figure is incredible and a testament to the service that small businesses strive to deliver – always aiming to going above and beyond at every chance.
How Can Taking Time Off Benefit You?
Whichever camp you fall into, it’s really important to weight up how much closing the doors at Christmas time is worth to your well being and your small business.
We never want to see small businesses go under, but working 52 weeks a year under unrelenting pressure will always catch up to you – everyone needs precious time to reflect and recharge.
As for the business owners who just can’t get enough – how would taking a break allow you to refocus and improve your overall performance in the next year?
Whether you desperately feel like you need a break, or are intrigued to see how closing your doors might improve your business across the coming year – then here’s 3 ways to actually take time off over the Christmas break:
3 Steps To Take Time Off Over The Christmas Break
1) Actually Plan Time Off
It’s really easy to just acknowledge that it’s Christmas time and aim to take it easy. In principle this sounds great, but in practice – it’s not a break and it never works. You’ll still be glued to your emails, taking business calls and generally fighting to keep things ticking over.
By doing this – you’re doing all the things you’d normally do, but using your surrounding to restrict yourself somewhat.
Instead take time in advance to plan specific dates where you are off – completely off.
Enjoy spending time with family, take part in your favourite hobby, learn a new skill or just get away on a short break and experience something new.
It’s incredible what a short amount of time can do for your relationships and wellbeing. Your customers and staff might even notice the difference? Take the time to feel energised by removing yourself completely from your small business.
2) Shut Off Your Mobile Phone & Emails
Once you’ve planned your time off – take the big step by staying away from your emails and business calls. Our personal and work lives are so connected through the power of technology, it’s become so easy to never completely detach from it all.
Turn off your notifications or, be even more daring, go on an Internet sabbatical.
3) Grab A Pen & Paper To Reflect And Enjoy
Look, we know that switching your brain off will be almost impossible. That isn’t the goal from this whole exercise. It’s inevitable that your work life will come into your head at some point during your time off – why? Because it matters and you care about it!
We’re trying to fight the feeling of having to do your job – and encourage your passion.
Rather than using the pen and paper to jot down all the jobs you’ll have to do when you get back to work – write down your reflections on the past 12 months, and plan for the coming year.
Write down the reasons why your business matters and what you want it to look like.
Write whenever a moment of inspiration hit you. Maybe it’s as you walk around other small businesses in your local town, some key values that you’d love your small business to embody – or just a way of doing things that you hadn’t thought of before.
Yes, you won’t have switched off completely this Christmas time – but you’ll have stopped working – taken time to reflect – and thought about ways to improve your business whilst being out of the business.