Why a work-life balance could be key to small business success

Workplace and wellbeing

2 February 2018

Running your own business requires grit, determination and collaboration. To develop those qualities you need to ask yourself: ‘what’s your why?’

Identifying the reasons you do what you do will connect you more closely to your enterprise and help you dig deep to achieve your goals. And for many small business owners, the answer to this is family.

Forging the future

With younger generations twice as likely to enter the family business than people aged over 35, there’s never been a better time to build your legacy. In the building trades, almost half of 18-35s followed in their father’s footsteps.

AXA customer Chris Stephens is a great example. He’s the third generation to enter the family heating and plumbing business, and with a child of his own now he’s hoping the line will stretch further. It’s taken generations of courage to build this business. Now it’s a source of security for the family, for as long as they’re willing to participate. Family members don't just passively receive the benefits a business brings – they contribute to the success, earning the security it provides.

Mutual benefit

Families across the country have proven time and time again that their support is crucial to helping small businesses thrive. As well as providing a reason to succeed, wider family networks often provide financial backing. Across the UK, 1.6 million people lent a total of around £7.2 billion to friends and family to help start and grow their business.

There’s also the emotional support family brings. Running a business can be draining, involving long hours and tough tasks. Families are the bedrock that help you cope, and that makes a real difference. In a recent survey, four out of five small business owners said that they believe their physical and emotional health directly impacts on the success of their company.

The importance of balance

This support is a two-way street. Business owners must set aside time for a healthy work-life balance, even as the business grows and evolves. This means sectioning off leisure time or putting key events such as anniversaries and school plays in the diary – where they’ll have equal importance with work commitments.

This balance is crucial to preserving your legacy too. Much more than previous generations, Millennials value their quality of work life and a good balance with their personal life over a high salary. Parents agree with this too: 81% of them say a good work-life balance matters more than money.

Getting it right

It takes courage to say no to clients, or to leave a problem to the next morning. Fortunately there are more and more tools to help you take control and maintain that balance. Using an online diary or automated appointment assistant like x.ai to manage appointments, including personal ones, is a great way to avoid last-minute interruptions.

Many successful entrepreneurs also have dedicated digital detox times. Make sure your phone and email are switched off for family mealtimes and weekends. Apps like StayFocusd, Digital Detox Challenge and ShutApp can help if you’re struggling. And if the business is growing, you can afford to delegate, so don’t be afraid to hand over responsibility to your new team – especially if they’re family!

All businesses start with a story. Protect yours.

Businesses start with a bold step and a restless determination to succeed. So if you’ve got a business story to share, tell us about it using #AXABusinessStories.