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Work smarter not harder.

You shouldn't have to sacrifice time just because you’re a small business owner

When you’re a business owner, it can sometimes feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day – especially if you’re juggling family and a busy social life too. In our recent survey of almost 1000 Australian businesses, we discovered 42% work more than 40 hours a week, while 1 in 5 are putting in 50+ hours.

Freedom is the number one reason people start a business and 66% of business owners define success as the flexibility to make their own decisions.  So to help more business owners win back a little more free time and flexibility, we’ve put together some useful tips that will help you take on the work/life balance, and always come out on top.

1. Set goals and schedule time to work on them

What does a balanced life look like to you? What do you want to achieve in your personal and professional life? Develop a holistic plan identifying your long-term goals, then plot smaller and more achievable milestones that will help you get there.

Play the long game. Always allow a little time in your week to work on your goals and you’ll notice the difference over time.

2.Outsource where you can

Hate life admin or mundane chores? Outsourcing may be your best friend.  From gardening and cleaning, to deliveries, sharing economy platforms like Airtasker can help clear domestic chores and free up time for the more important stuff.

3. Don’t go it all

It might be your business, but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything. From hiring the right people, and keeping them, to building a network of trusted experts you can count on, work is easier when it’s a team effort. The advice a legal, marketing, accounting or mentoring expert can give you has the potential to make all the difference to your business.

 “I needed some business guidance from someone who wouldn’t sugar coat things to make me feel better. My mentor tells me where I’m going wrong and where I need to change direction.”                          

John Nicolas, owner of design company Art and Soul.

4. Hold on to good people

Good working relationships are crucial for business, yet 1 in 5 small business owners say they struggle to find the help they need. When you find a good team member, do all you can to make the relationship last. It’s not all about money, ensuring they have all they need to perform at their best, have a sense of empowerment and personal achievement, helps make for a happy, motivated workforce.

5. Make friends with cash flow

Cashflow is the lifeblood of any business, but it naturally fluctuates over time. 82% of business owners find managing it a challenge, which is why sometimes, a business loan  can give you the boost you need.

6. Make time to connect

Networking is one of the best ways to broaden your circle and promote your business. With 33% of business owners feeling socially isolated at times, it can be good for your wellbeing too.  Join a local trade association or online forum, go to the meetups, share your expertise and let the community know what you’re all about.

 7. Embrace technology

Whatever your attitude to the latest technology, there are plenty of ways it can help your business, especially at tax time. From apps and software packages, to the latest online platforms, your productivity can get a real boost when you let a machine do all the work. For help organising your paperwork during tax time.

“I’m a big fan of productivity apps like Asana, Trello and CoSchedule. They help keep me, and my team, on track during the day, so I can make the most of family time in the evenings and at weekends.”    

Carrie Kwan, founder of Mums & Co

8. Make time for the good stuff

What makes you happy? Whatever you’re into, be sure to make time for it in your schedule, to help you strike the balance. Even if you just want a few moments to yourself to relax or clear your head, schedule it in. That’s how you get a balance.

9. Don’t be afraid to say no

However hard you work, there are only so many hours in the day. 41% of small business owners say they don’t have a great work/life balance. Be one of the 59% that do. Decide what’s most important to you, and never feel guilty if you have to say no to something, it simply means it didn’t make the cut.

10. Make your time count

Life’s not about the time you have, but what you do with it. Make the most of your time off, do the things you enjoy, try new things you’ve never considered, travel, play with your kids and where possible combine work with play. It will make the experience of being a business owner even more rewarding.

Hopefully these tips will help you enjoy a little more freedom, while at the helm of your business.

For more ways to get your balance back and your business on track, download the CGU Work/Life Hacks Toolkit here