Oops, you blinked and the holidays are right around the corner—again.
While most people enjoy this time of year, we can all agree that it's pretty stressful. In fact, a recent study found that 77% of Americans have a hard time relaxing during the holidays.
Things are even crazier for small business owners, who have to manage inventory, employees, and payroll on top of everything else associated with the season.
Fortunately, there are ways to find balance during the holidays and actually enjoy them, while propelling your business forward. In this article, we share five tips to do just that. But first…
Why Is Balance Important For Small Business Owners?
Why should you prioritize balance this holiday season? If you can grit your teeth and just "make things work" from October through December, you should do it, right?
Not necessarily. Poor work/life balance can lead to fatigue, elevated stress levels, and burnout. If you're not careful, it can even result in serious health problems. Tack on the general hustle and bustle of the holidays and "no balance" quickly becomes "no bueno".
By prioritizing yourself this holiday season, you'll make sure you're fresh and ready to serve your customers in the best ways possible, leading to more success in the years to follow.
How to Find Balance This Holiday Season
Can we agree that balance is important for all small business owners? Great, now the question is, how do you actually achieve it during the holidays? These five tips will help:
1. Get Organized
Organization will help you achieve balance during the holidays.
The holidays are a crazy time of year.
You have gifts to buy, meals to make, and second cousins to reconnect with. You might need to attend your kid's end-of-year play or dance recital. The weather probably won't be great.
And we haven't even talked about your business yet. There's a good chance that the holiday season is your busy time, which probably means longer hours and more stress.
To get everything done and keep your sanity, get organized. Here's how:
Plan Ahead: As the old saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. Stock up on popular products, hire seasonal employees, invest in better software, etc. Do what you can today to make sure that tomorrow (and the days after) go smoothly.
Make To-Do Lists: Have you made a work-related plan for the holidays? Now break down that plan into daily to-dos. This will keep you focused on the right tasks.
Schedule Down Time: Your work-related plan should include down time. "Woah!" You're thinking. "I can't take an entire day off. I'm too busy." Well, how about an afternoon, then? Schedule time to relax or you'll never find balance.
2. Set Boundaries
Organization is just the tip of the iceberg. You need to set boundaries, too.
What will you not do this holiday season? Maybe you decide not to work past 7pm on weeknights. Or work on Saturdays at all. Maybe you decide to never bring work home with you. If it doesn't get done at the office, it just doesn't get done.
Boundaries will help you thoroughly enjoy the holidays and keep you from overworking yourself. They'll also ensure the times you do work are more productive.
How? When you know that tasks have to be done before 7pm, for example, you'll become more focused during the day and accomplish things in a more timely manner. If you don't, you'll fall behind and you may have to breach your boundaries, which you don't want to do.
Decide where your line is this holiday season. Then commit to not crossing it. Ever.
3. Invest in Better Tools
The right software will help you get more done in less time, and relieve stress.
One of the best ways to find balance during the holidays is to invest in better tools. That way you can get more done in less time. So, let's talk about a few different software solutions:
Website Chat: Chances are, your website will be flooded with traffic this holiday season. Tools like Chatbot.com and Drift will allow you to engage website visitors via bots. That way you can focus on other, more important tasks.
POS Systems: Retailers use point of sale (POS) systems to "ring up" customers. Tools like Square and Clover will help you track inventory, too. You can even integrate these tools with other platforms to automatically order new stock when you run low.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Own a service business? Then you may benefit from CRM software, which will help you keep track of your clients. Tools like Pipedrive offer automation as well, to reduce manual data entry tasks.
4. Delegate Tasks to Others
Software can only do so much. You'll probably need to hire a couple of people to help you run your business, too, if you haven't already. Let these folks do the things you hired them to do!
Delegating is hard for many small business owners. They want to maintain control. They worry that if they don't complete tasks themselves, quality standards will go by the wayside. Then they put everything on their own shoulders and never find the balance they seek.
Don't be that kind of small business owner. Instead, trust your employees to do their jobs well. If you've hired the right people, given them the tools to succeed, and planned ahead for the holiday season, there's no reason why they can't handle the tasks you assign them.
5. Have Realistic Expectations
Unrealistic expectations are a surefire way to achieve imbalance in your life.
Finally, set realistic expectations for you and your business during the holidays.
Don't expect to work 18 hour days. Or to skip every holiday party you're invited to. Or to triple last year's sales, unless you have solid evidence that this is a distinct possibility.
We celebrate ambition and applaud you for setting big goals—but not if said goals are too big to achieve. Overambition will simply lead to imbalance, burnout, and disappointment.
Instead, aim for things that are just outside your comfort zone, like beating last year's sales numbers by 20%. And, as we've already discussed, make time for yourself…
Spend evenings with your family. Attend a holiday event or two. Balance the demands of your business with the joys of life. Doing so will help you achieve fulfillment this holiday season.
Balance is essential to a successful business and a happy life. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to attain—especially during the holidays. But it's definitely possible!
By getting organized, setting boundaries, investing in better tools, delegating tasks to others, and having realistic expectations, you can achieve the balance you crave. Once you do, you'll eliminate burnout, help prevent certain health risks, and actually enjoy this time of year.
Looking for another way to find balance? Offload your company's marketing strategy to a team of knowledgeable professionals with decades of combined experience under their belts.
At Scorpion, we've helped thousands of small businesses engage their target audiences and make more sales via website design, content creation, social media management, email marketing, and paid advertising services. We'd be happy to help your business, too.
Get in touch with us today and let's make this holiday season the best one yet!