As a founder, the thought of taking time off can be both enticing and daunting. After working tirelessly to build your business, the desire for a break is understandable. However, determining the ideal time to step away requires careful consideration of various factors, such as expenses, priorities, the right length of time to get away, responsibilities, and targets. In this post, I explore the importance of financial stability, setting priorities, and finding the right balance between work and personal time.
Financial Stability and Lifestyle Creep
One common mistake founders make is as revenues increase, it's common for them to elevate their lifestyles. While enjoying the fruits of your labour is well-deserved, be cautious of "lifestyle creep" - the tendency to spend more as you earn more. Until you reach your desired revenue, profit, cost and team targets prioritise reinvesting profits into the business or saving for future growth, personal expenditure and unforeseen challenges.
Unfortunately, our culture spends beyond its means; we believe that 'if I purchase this or go on that holiday' (which ends up costing a fortune), I will feel better and seem accomplished. The trouble is, when you get back home, your issues will still be there. We cannot spend our way out of our own skin, self-denial and issues. Instead, work on you on the inside (mindset, beliefs, attitude and actions) and your outside will start to reflect what you want to see and experience.
We have come across many great businesses but because of the founders self-sabotaging habits, unhelpful beliefs and failure to plan appropriately, they don’t optimise their opportunities. Without a solid financial foundation, this can lead to unnecessary stress and setbacks. Ideally, founders should aim to have approximately six months' worth of expenses covered before allowing themselves significant financial indulgences. They have to factor in mortgages, wages and other expenses. This safety net ensures stability during breaks and facilitates a smoother return to revenue-generating activities.
Prioritising Business Growth
There’s a saying overnight success takes nine years and the first several years of a business demand focus and perseverance. While taking breaks is important for mental and physical well-being, it's crucial to maintain a clear sense of priorities. Founders should strike a balance between rest and staying committed to their business goals. This means planning strategic breaks that align with the company's growth trajectory and understanding the potential impact on revenue and momentum. By effectively managing time off, founders can avoid jeopardising the progress they have worked so hard to achieve.
The Reality of Entrepreneurship
While owning a business may be appealing, the reality is it requires a founder to be committed and agile. The stamina required to overcome obstacles and maintain consistent growth often exceeds the average person's expectations. As revenues increase, so do expenses, which can quickly become a burden if not managed prudently. It is essential to approach entrepreneurship with a long-term perspective, taking into account the financial responsibilities and commitments that come with business ownership.
Finding the Right Balance
To find the right balance between work and personal time, founders should consider the following solutions:
Budgeting and Financial Planning: Develop a comprehensive budget that includes both personal and business expenses. Prioritise saving for emergencies and building a financial cushion before indulging in significant personal expenses.
Strategic Breaks: Plan breaks strategically, ensuring they align with the company's growth objectives. Evaluate the potential impact on revenue and create a plan to maintain momentum during your absence.
Delegating and Building a Support System: Empower your team and delegate responsibilities to trusted individuals who can manage the business effectively in your absence. Build a support system of mentors, advisors, or business networks to provide guidance and insights.
Continuous Learning and Adaptation: Stay informed about industry trends and best practices. Continuously adapt your business strategies to maintain competitiveness and efficiency, reducing the risk of financial stress.
Taking time off as a founder is crucial for maintaining overall well-being and avoiding burnout. However, it requires careful consideration of financial stability, setting priorities, and finding the right balance between work and personal life. By responsibly managing expenses, prioritising business growth, and approaching entrepreneurship with a long-term perspective, founders can ensure a healthier and more sustainable journey towards success.
Remember, taking time off should be a well-thought-out decision that aligns with your business goals and financial situation. By finding the right balance, you can enjoy the rewards of your hard work while keeping your business on track for long-term success.