As a small business owner, what would you say is your most valuable asset? For more than a third of entrepreneurs, the answer isn’t property or equipment, it’s time. In fact, one in four small business owners believes 60 extra minutes of productivity is worth upwards of $500.
But for every additional hour you pour into your business, another part of your life has to pay for it – whether that’s time you might have spent sleeping, on health and wellness, with friends and family, or focusing on other commitments and responsibilities.
Here’s how to take more time for yourself, while still supporting your growing business.
Recharge with friends and family
Effective time-management is invaluable in business, where you need to prioritise daily tasks and work to and around various deadlines and commitments.
Spending quality time with the people closest to you is essential for your emotional wellbeing and for building meaningful connections, so put these time-management skills into practice and schedule regular get-togethers with friends, Sunday breakfasts with your family, or date night with your partner. Make sure you stick to these appointments in the same way you would if they were business related.
Not enough hours in the day? Try time-tracking and organisational apps such as Wunderlist , Trello or Harvest to help you manage your workflow and keep an eye on your productivity levels throughout the day. If you find a particular task is taking up an inordinate amount of your time, you may find delegating, automating or outsourcing it adds up to hours saved every week or month.
Set up a safety net
You’re probably focussed on the long term success of your small business, but it’s important to have a financial safety net in place to protect you and your family if things don’t go to plan. This isn’t about having a plan B, but rather having something in place to protect the financial security of yourself and your family.
How would you manage if there was a change in market conditions, an economic downturn, or some other unforeseen circumstance that affected the viability of your business? Or what if something happened to you that meant you couldn’t generate an income?
Setting up a financial safety net should be a top priority for business owners. You may wish to consider three measures:
- Life Insurance to protect your loved ones if you were no longer around;
- Income Protection Insurance in case you couldn’t work due to a sickness or injury, helping you support your family and cover essential living expenses ; and
- If you are self employed, Business Expense Insurance, which helps cover the fixed running costs of your business if, due to sickness or injury, you were unable to work.
Some insurance premiums, such as income protection or business expense insurance, might even be tax deductible.
Keep an eye on the bigger picture
Just like a business plan keeps you aligned with your purpose and goals, developing a strategy for how to cut down your working hours overtime can help you stay motivated.
Start by identifying what you want to achieve in the next one, three or five-plus years to lessen your workload or shift the responsibility to someone one. This might include:
- Setting up software or systems;
- Investing in better equipment;
- Hiring a virtual assistant or other team members; or
- Outsourcing bookkeeping, marketing, and so on.
Then, break long-term goals into smaller milestones with realistic deadlines.
Build your nest egg
When you’re throwing all of your time, energy and money into your business, retirement can seem a long way down the road. But the savvy approach is to diversify risk by growing your superannuation investment simultaneously with your business.
That doesn’t mean you have to start making large super contributions immediately – even $20 a week over your working life can make a big difference to your nest egg. A self-managed fund may hold benefits for some, including greater flexibility, more investment options, a lower tax rate, and the ability to hold your life insurance. It’s best to talk to a trusted financial advisor to decide what’s right for you.
Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy business
With business owners often working long, irregular hours, especially in the early days, health and wellness can naturally take a back seat. But a poor diet or non-existent exercise routine may actually be costing you time.
A nutrient deficiency can affect your ability to concentrate (leaving you with ‘ brain fog ’) and curb your immune system , while physical activity has been linked to better work performance , improved time management and a reduction in stress levels .
So while it may seem counterintuitive to take time away from work to increase productivity, prioritising a balanced diet and some form of exercise will help you attack your to-do list with more energy and sharper focus – not to mention the long-term health benefits.
Even if you live for your work, future-proofing your financial security and allowing yourself time to switch off will give you more freedom and energy to focus on what you love to do. After all, isn’t that what starting your own business is all about?
Information provided in respect of life insurance has been written in conjunction with NobleOak Life Limited AFSL 247302 ABN 85 087 648 708. This is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Always read the PDS.
NobleOak Life is an Australian life insurer that has been protecting Australians for over 140 years. NobleOak pride themselves on delivering personalised service, and offering market leading premiums through their Australian based call centre.