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Business owners need a life too!

Posted by Antonia Haythornthwaite on 21 February 2012

An article in the latest NZ Business newsletter says, according to a survey, Kiwi business owners are giving up their holidays in order to support their businesses during these challenging times. The closing statement was that business owners are working a lot harder for every dollar of profit that they earn.

When you ask most small business owners why they went into business for themselves the response often includes work/life balance: being able to spend more time with the family or to travel etc. The "respondent" sometimes lets out a maniacal laugh when the realisation hits that they are actually working more hours than they would working for someone else. This is quickly followed by some kind of justification that they are investing the time into the business now for a payoff in the future. Well, that's how the conversation usually goes when I'm the one being asked!

There are so many things to do when you're running a small business, it's easy to delude ourselves that we need to do all of them. Then we wonder why we're so tired and frazzled and have no time to do anything else! Perhaps it's time to Determine Your Personal Return on Investment, and decide to let someone else do some of the tasks for a change. Delegation (whether to staff or outside experts) leads to a healthy work-life balance.

When you have a team of people working for you, chances are that there will be some room to improve their productivity. There are several keys to unlocking the potential of your employees, increasing their engagement and in turn, their productivity: 

  1. selecting the right people with innate talents
  2. defining the right outcomes for your business (and each job within it)
  3. identifying and developing the strengths of each person on your team
  4. finding the right fit for each person not only now but also as they develop

The practical HR systems and processes you have in your business (recruitment, performance management, learning and development, reward and recognition etc) helps you turn these keys.

Outsourcing allows owners to focus on other business issues while having the details taken care of by outside experts. This means that a large amount of resources and attention, which might fall on the shoulders of the owners, can be used for more important, broader issues within the business. The specialised company that handles the outsourced work is often streamlined, and often has expertise and access to technology that a small business couldn't afford to buy on their own. The best outsourcing partners become an extension of your team, regularly working on-site.

So business owners: as you start a new year, consider what alternatives there are to doing it all yourself. You deserve a holiday just as much as your staff do.

Author: Antonia Haythornthwaite
Tags: Management / Leadership