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Work-life balance tips for SMEs

Work-life balance tips for SMEs

Poor work-life balance is the epidemic of our time judging by the tomes written on the subject, and it is fair to say that small and medium-sized business owners tend to be one of the greatest casualties.

Survey after survey reveals that work-life balance is one of the major concerns for SME owners, and that nearly half work over the summer holidays.

 “SME owners face a distinctive work-life balance challenge,” says FactorONE chief executive officer Greg Charlwood. “Unlike managers of large organisations, they have fewer resources and generally contend with a higher level of chaos, putting out one fire after another in a more intensely competitive environment.

“While all the general advice on work/life balance applies to SMEs, there are a few points that are particularly salient,” says Mr Charlwood. “Setting a firm business foundation and structure has to be a priority to minimise chaos. SMEs need to make sure the accounts are under control, bad debtors are under control, cash flow is strong and risk-management procedures are in place. This provides a stable platform from which to execute further time-saving innovations such as automation.”

“When the basics are in place, then owners can take time out to examine the key aspects of life: work, family, friends, spirituality and health; decide how much time they want to spend on each and create a schedule that supports this, making sure they build downtime into the schedule.”

Automation is a perfect solution for small and medium-sized businesses because it doesn’t involve sacrificing one important part of life for another. Many business functions can be automated ranging from marketing to operations to administration. It is also becoming increasingly cost-effective as the price of technology falls – mobile solutions being just one example. An entire online industry has developed to facilitate automation and a plethora of blogs and websites specialise in keeping readers up to date with the latest time-saving applications.

Our solution, invoice finance (also known as factoring) is somewhat unique in that in addition to the funding we also provide an accounts receivable function, freeing the business owner from the need to run debtor administration, make collection calls, send statements and negotiate with debtors on payment, which can create the time and space needed for owners to improve work-life balance.

In terms of general advice, there is no hard and fast approach to work-life balance. Gone are the days when a set of behaviours or practices are prescribed as a one-size fits all. Instead, life coaches recommend a tailored solution that recognises the individual, the nature of the work, and his or her priorities.

Many processes have been developed to help improve work-life balance. Most of the advice on the subject can be compacted into a reading of few key books such as Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Organising for Dummies and Tim Ferris’s The 4-Hour Work Week. You could add to the reading list any one of the books on spirituality that tries to harness eastern philosophies of inner peace and abundance to the western ethos of achievement.

But for those who just don’t have the time, here is a list of practical tips to help you maximize your work-life balance.

·         Outsource

·         Telecommute

·         Filter calls and emails

·         Don’t overbook

·         Stay on top of your accounts

·         Take time to make time – time-tracking tools

·         Prioritise ruthlessly

·         Practise good time management

·         Stay healthy

·         Know your rhythm and work to it

·         Know what you can control and can’t and devote mental and physical energy to the controllable.

·         Play to your strengths

·         Live close to work

·         Set boundaries

·         Reduce web time and news time

·         Drop activities that sap your time and energy and don’t add value.

·         Get a business coach

·         Help staff achieve work/life balance so that they have a solid foundation from which to support you.





5 Tips to help SMEs reduce debt and boost cashflow
How Invoice finance can be good for your health

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