I am writing this piece while vacationing in St. Lucia. I ran into a few young entrepreneurs at our resort. They were constantly on their smartphones and laptops, trying to get a grip of their business back home. I saw this as a reflection of myself almost sixteen years ago.
Vacation anxiety is real. A feeling that the unpredictable can happen when you are away from your business. This living nightmare deters most small business owners from taking vacations. I too was the guy that would constantly check emails at the beach. My business was in its infancy stage and my world view of business was different. A paradigm shift to how I now view the business.
Budding entrepreneurs should know what can be done to minimize the angst and understand why this is a positive emotion that all businesses need to go through during the early stages of the business development cycle.
Vacations play a vital role in the personal growth of the entrepreneur as well as the business.
Recall the adage “Time is Money”… To the astute entrepreneur, the most valuable resource in the world is time. It’s the one thing that money can’t buy. A vacation is nothing more than a defined time-slot devoted to things that are most important to you. A vacation could be a weekend playing tennis, a group of old friends going away for a week or a grand family holiday. That’s the beauty of a vacation – you decide what you like to do and make it happen.
The successful entrepreneur maintains a unique work & life perspective that is balanced by a well deserved holiday.
If you’re like most people, you decided on the path of entrepreneurship because you were attracted to the autonomous lifestyle that a business could provide. Your business should be able to deliver the freedom that you were seeking. If not, then you don’t have a business – the business has you. A unique situation where you bought yourself a job and your boss is a tyrant.
You’ve overcome many challenges as a successful business owner, so how can you possibly leave business on autopilot and in the hands of your employees while you go sailing in the Caribbean?
In today’s world, any successful small business needs to be a separate entity from the owner. Entrepreneurs need to look at their business as a machine that can operate on its own.
With proper systems in place, a business should operate without the entrepreneur. This fact was re-enforced when I recently read WTF (Willing to Fail) by Brian Scudamore. He simply states that people don’t fail, systems do. In a nutshell, systems run your business and your people run the systems.
Your vacation should be viewed as a “soft launch” for your business. A time when you feel that the systems by which your business operates are sufficient to function independently. Any issues faced during your holiday is an opportunity to improve upon your systems… And therein lies the true function of the entrepreneur – To work on the business, rather than in it. Business development is nothing more than the continual process of improving your business’s systems.
Vacations are great and anxiety can be reduced by understanding the benefits a holiday has on the entrepreneur as a person as well as the positive impact that a vacation has on improving your business’s operation.
While in St Lucia I had to ask a local why this part of the Carribean is referred to as the West Indies… It turns out that Columbus was in pursuit of “Spice Islands”. He decided on trying a new approach – head West to get to India. Instead, he discovered the Antilles. Since then the name West Indies was used to refer to all the eastern Caribbean islands. So for Columbus and all the Entrepreneurs of the world – Don’t be afraid to fail or make a mistake. Think of these as opportunities to grow and improve the way you navigate through life.