5 year-end tips for entrepreneurs

The hustle may be real but so is exhaustion and burnout, which is why it is crucial for entrepreneurs (just like their employees) to take a well-deserved break at the end of the year. The article below offers five useful tips for those struggling to switch off.

The 24/7/365 work cycle might be one that has become synonymous with the entrepreneurial journey but we also know the story about all work and no play. 

Luckily there is a growing awareness, particularly among entrepreneurs and business leaders, of the importance of taking a break from work and that, in fact, regular rest makes us sharper and more capable in the long run. 

Importantly, mental wellbeing is increasingly in the spotlight too as executives become more aware of the toll relentless work and the associated stress, takes on the mental health of teams and employees. 

David Seinker, entrepreneur, founder and CEO of The Business Exchange, is as serious about his downtime as he is about his work, and urges fellow entrepreneurs to prioritise their wellbeing – and that of their business – by taking time off to rest, reflect and recharge. 

David Seinker, The Business Exchange. Photo: Supplied

Seinker shares his top five tips to help entrepreneurs wrap up the year. 

  1. Evaluate and celebrate the successes 

Warren Bennis, widely regarded as the pioneer of contemporary leadership study, wrote in his classic On Becoming a Leader “experiences aren’t truly yours until you think about them, analyse them, examine them, question them, reflect on them and finally understand them”. 

For Seinker this is especially true of business successes.

“In the hustle and bustle of business we’re often so busy chasing the next big thing that we forget to celebrate the successes and to unpack what it was that made a given initiative a success.” He believes the end of a year is the ideal time for listing the successes of the past 12 months and evaluating what it was that made it successful, with the purpose of taking those learnings and applying it to future projects. 

  1. Interrogate and learn from the failures 

“We learn and grow as much from our failures, if not more so, as we do from our successes, which is why it is crucial to be open about the things that didn’t work so well in business,” Seinker shares. 

The end of the year is the ideal time to list and interrogate the things that didn’t work and to try to learn from that. Seinker’s advice is to be open and transparent about the failures with your team. The “fail fast” philosophy is one that is well documented and while it typically pertains to systems design, entrepreneurs too can benefit from adopting the premise that the faster you find out why something doesn’t work, the faster you can go about fixing it. 

  1. Recognise those who helped you along the way 

In much the same way that it takes a village to raise a child, a business can’t thrive without the support of its community. “No matter how brilliant you are as an entrepreneur or business leader, your success is almost never just yours. Recognising how the support, motivation and encouragement of others helped you along the way is both a form of gratitude but also an acknowledgement that an enterprise or organisation forms part of a larger macro environment that relies on its staff, clients, suppliers and the community for its livelihood,” Seinker says. 

Consider saying thank you to those who contribute to your business success, be it with a social media post, an internal note to staff or a personal word of thanks when engaging with your stakeholders. 

  1. Identify goals and set targets for 2022 

The goal setting in a business needn’t be left to the finance department alone, but should rather be an integrated process that consults all stakeholders within the business. “In our business we like to approach goal setting as a collaborative process where everybody has a say in the best direction for the business,” Seinker shares. 

Goal setting is a crucial part of planning and can be a great way to get a team excited for what lies ahead while ensuring their buy-in from the early stages. 

  1. Set an end date to 2021 and a start to 2022 

Everybody needs a break at the end of the year. Seinker’s advice is to be clear about the date on which the business ceases to operate for 2021 and resumes again in 2022. “Draw a line in the sand so that clients and employees alike know that this business is closing on X date and reopening on Y date, and stick to it as you would any other commitment.” 

If the thought of being unreachable is too daunting or the nature of your business is such that people still need to get hold of you, make sure to put some boundaries in place such as limiting the time in which you see to business on your break to one or two set hours a day. 

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