Making Time for Time Off

Author: Notre Dame ESTEEM


To someone on the outside looking in, the life of a small business owner might seem like one long, fun-in-the-sun filled vacation.  You get to be your own boss, you make your own hours, and your day is comprised predominantly of client schmoozing and liquid lunch meetings. Piece of cake, right?

Well, as anyone who has ever actually owned a small business will tell you, there is a lot more that goes into than just that.  Sure you get to be your own boss, but that means you’re also your own employee, and with so much to be accomplished each day and only twenty-four hours to do it, that employee better have a darn good work ethic.     

So that begs the question, as a small business owner when (if ever) do you find the time to relax?  

A recent article on the website discusses how in some situations people with startups find it difficult to step away from their business to take a vacation.  Citing a survey by American Express, the article found that the number of business owners that plan to take at least one week off during the summer was down five percentage points from last year, from 54 percent to 49 percent.  And that’s down from a high of 67 percent in 2006, the year before the recession hit.  

A certain number of small business owners are currently feeling the boon of a slowly recovering economy, so with their companies starting to gain traction again they are wary to take time off and potentially slow that growth.  This makes a certain amount of sense considering that only about 20 percent of businesses survive their first five years in existence, but is still a somewhat disheartening trend.

Small business ownership is a time consuming, often stressful endeavor, so the risk of burnout is inherently high.   If the people running them aren’t able to step back periodically and bask in some well-deserved time off that leads to some rather legitimate concerns about both short and long-term priorities.  

So what do you think, is a small business still a success if it comes at the expense of being able to sit back and enjoy life every once in a while?