Why Entrepreneurs Need to Take More Time Off – And How To Do It Without Panicking
Letting go of total control of the business is incredibly difficult for a lot of entrepreneurs.
Sometimes we feel that nothing in the business is going to run as well if we aren’t there, and that can make us scared to ever take a break, even for a couple of days!
The thing is, many entrepreneurs are addicted to being busy. We have got so used to working long hours and growing our baby that we get some serious separation anxiety, guilt and FOMO if we decide to step away.
Because of this, we are always in the business and never get to stop to think about what the business looks like when we aren’t in it, and if we fail to put any systems or processes in place to ensure it’s a self-sustaining organisation, that makes us scared to leave.
It’s a vicious cycle!
But how would it feel to be able to take 2-3 days, even a week or two off, and know that things are running just as smoothly as you left them?
Would you be able to sit back and enjoy that cocktail on the beach knowing that your business is more than equipped to handle pretty much any problem or emergency that comes its way – WITHOUT you having to be there?
This blog is going to show you the benefits of stepping out of the business for a time. I’ll also give you some useful ways you can start putting your own frameworks, systems and processes in place now so that you don’t have to feel like it’s Armageddon every time you step out of the office for a few days.
Giving yourself thinking time
I’m a big fan of something called “thinking time”. It’s something I learned from Keith Cunningham in his book The Road Less Stupid, where you intentionally set aside time to step out and think about a problem.
This is absolutely key. You need to be taking a planning day at least once a quarter with everyone responsible for contributing to the strategy of the business, and put a plan in place for how to move the vision forwards.
It’s the only way you can really think about where you are going, and how you are going to get there.
Your business won’t fall apart in the 24 hours you are gone and you and your team will come back energised, and inspired to go beyond the day-to-day tasks they were doing before.
Your wellbeing is vital for the business – take a holiday!
Sometimes business owners get so caught up in running their business that they forget they are the most valuable asset they have.
Allowing yourself to truly take a break (no sly email checking or quick check-in calls!) and relax is amazingly helpful, so it’s super important that you are looking after yourself, in order to look after your business and the people working in it.
During time off it’s not uncommon for people to come up with their best, most creative ideas, and usually, I come back with tons of lightbulb moments, and most importantly, the energy to put them into action.
To give you an example of what I mean, I recently attended the Keap conference in the US which was like a holiday AND two weeks of planning for the business combined.
I was surrounded by like-minded people sharing new ideas and attended some great speaking sessions on topics highly relevant to my business.
It sparked a whole new world of creativity which I was able to bring back into my business to ensure we are at the forefront of our industry and delivering the best possible results for our clients.
Feeling confident about stepping away
The best part of those two weeks for me was that I didn’t panic once about my business. Why?
Because over the last few years I have adopted a proactive mindset and started putting the right processes and systems in place so I don’t have to be there for the business to run smoothly.
To be a truly successful business and be able to let go, you need to be delegating the standard operating procedures. You need to create systems and processes that mean that anybody should be able to pick up that task without too much hassle or hands-on training.
Even if you aren’t away on holiday, you shouldn’t be involved in these basic £5 tasks as a business owner anyways. These should be processed out of your day, automated or delegated to other members of your team.
It’s important that the business and the people in it can get used to doing these operational tasks when you aren’t there, so when you do go away it’s as if nothing has changed.
That just comes with good delegation and good processes.
To do this, take a look at all of the operational roles you are performing in the business that hinge on you being there and try to systemise what you do, or turn them into templates so they can be automated or that someone else can pick up.
There are loads of online tools you can use to help you with this such as:
- Autoschedulers to book appointments automatically.
- Online forms like Airmanual and Trainual allow you to create manuals and step-by-step instructions & checklists for your team to follow.
- Automatic email rules for sorting to ensure you are seeing the important emails and leaving the rest to someone else.
- Building templated email responses, follow-ups and proposals so you aren’t writing them new every time you send a quote.
- Automate your sales pipeline so your leads and customers are being followed up automatically with the right, relevant messages.
Once you have set these up, have a think about what it looks like for someone to follow. Don’t just abdicate the onboarding of someone else into the jobs you’re handing off to them. Test them out with your team and make sure that they are done to your standard, being clear on the desired outcome. That way, you will be confident that things will get done the way you want them to get done.
Firing yourself from certain jobs
The idea is to fire yourself from certain roles. If you can automate tasks or have someone else follow your systems, that allows you to focus on the higher value and higher impact tasks that are going to drive the business forwards, and it also means you can step away from the business guilt free.
One big challenge of stepping away from the business to focus on your wellbeing and the bigger vision of the business is your clients.
You need to be 100 per cent confident that if you step away, those clients are getting exactly what they need and you won’t leave money on the table or have any drop-offs in your absence.
Of course, you can start bringing people in to help you with the client management too, but if you haven’t mapped out your processes, and have a detailed map of your client’s customer journey through your business, you will always be worried about leaving them alone for too long.
(If you haven’t already, check out my blog on how to build the ideal customer journey)
It’s a cheap solution to a massive problem
The best thing about systemising your business like this is that you do not need a huge recruitment budget or have to spend tons of money on software to build out the right process to allow you to step away from the business.
Most of the things I have mentioned in this blog are either super cheap or totally free to do!
Just start with identifying what those tasks in the business are that rely on you. It may take a few days of work now, but it can save you hundreds of hours in the future.
And you just might get to enjoy that cocktail on the beach instead of checking your phone every five minutes!
Want to know how close you are to being able to step away from the business guilt free? If you need some extra help putting these processes into place, book a discovery call with us and let’s see if we can help.