Most business owners admit their efforts require lots of personal sacrifice, but a new survey has revealed just how much sacrifice the typical leader is prepared to make for their enterprise.
New research by CGU Insurance suggests it is more than simply work/life balance that Aussies are setting aside in their push to grow their business.
While 41 per cent of the 921 business leaders polled said this was true for them, more than a third (35 per cent) are missing out on significant social and family events, and 33 per cent admit to social isolation as a direct result of their long work hours.
Most concerning, though, was the finding that 17 per cent are sacrificing their own physical health for their business.
“One of the biggest challenges of running a small business is finding a way to grow without it taking a toll on your personal life. Your happiness, and that of your family, shouldn’t have to take a backseat to your business, but the reality is there are only so many hours in the day,” said Kate Wellard, CGU Insurance’s small business spokesperson.
“Running a small business often means doing everything yourself, but this often isn’t conducive to a healthy business or a happy personal life.”
Ms Wellard added: “Our advice to small business owners searching for that elusive work/life balance is to look for ways to work smarter, not harder. Making sure you have the right support, both in terms of staff and professional advice when you need it can also make a huge difference. It can also free up more time for spending with family and friends or doing what you love.”
She suggested the following points to make more time in the day and get control of working hours:
1. Know your goals and develop a plan: Know what success looks like when it comes to your own work/life balance (as it is different for everyone) and develop a plan for how you can get there.
2. Keep a “done” list as a well as a “to-do” list: Running a business is hard work. Reminding yourself of your achievements and celebrating success can help relieve stress and improve your work satisfaction.
3. Outsource your life: Sometimes it can be easier to get help with things at home (such as gardening and cleaning) than things at work. Using sharing economy platforms such as Airtasker can be a smart way to free up some spare time at home.
4. Combine your social plans: Maximise your socialising time by combining social plans. For example, by working your kids into your plans (if you are a parent) or encouraging different groups of friends to mix.
5. Network and meet people “outside your bubble”: The benefits of networking your business are huge, but it can also be a fun way to socialise, get out of your routine and meet new people outside of your usual circle.
6. Say no to things: You can’t go on all the rides. Choosing what is important to you, and saying no to things that don’t align with this, is an important step to getting your work/life balance on track.
7. Schedule regular “down time”: Taking a few small breaks can make a huge difference in your work week, and restore a bit of balance to your day.
8. Plan meals for the week: Getting lunches and dinners organised for the week can free up time for spending with family and friends. It can also help you eat healthier.
9. Find good help and hold onto it: Good help is hard to find. Finding and holding on to great staff, and delegating work when you can, can make a huge difference.
10. Get professional help, when you need it: You can’t be an expert in everything. Build a network of trusted experts you can lean-on when you need advice and support.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.