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Five tips on how to make the most of a business break

When you start and grow a business, you’re involved each day in the detail of running the business; perfecting customer service, ensuring positive cashflow, making new products, and so on. This is all good and right but to plan for business growth, it’s important to step away from day-to-day affairs and take a good look at the business from a distance.

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Years ago someone told me the story of a successful business owner who, once a year, would pack his bags, leave the family home, and head off to spend a week alone with the business plan. I’ve emulated this ever since and every year I think it’s time well spent. Freshly back from this year’s break, here are my five tips on how you can reap rewards from taking a business break.

Head to a place that stimulates the senses

This place doesn’t have to be far from home but it’s important you travel to it as the journey itself gives a sense of separation. As the car drives away/train pulls out/plane takes off, you positively feel yourself moving farther from the detail of the business and heading towards a space and place that will help you focus on ‘the bigger picture.’ Ideally, choose a place with dramatic scenery; open seas, rolling hills, tall skyscrapers; essentially you’re looking for a landscape that’s different to the one you’re used to as this will stimulate the imagination and create the perfect setting for planning.

Get settled

you’re in the setting and a new place, get yourself accustomed to it; take a walk, have a drink, allow your mind to wander and people watch! Feel yourself starting to relax? Good. You’re in the right frame of mind to start planning!

Ask yourself two questions

How has the business performed over the past six months/year and where do you want to take the business in the next 6 to 12 months. Write down your thoughts .. on napkins … in a notebook .. on your phone ..whatever is closest to hand. Be ambitious in your goals and make the most of being in a place that’s encouraging you to plan for your dream business.

Don’t rush it

It’s likely you will come up with a new idea for the business in a ‘eureka’ moment of ‘Ah! Why didn’t I think of that before!’ – allow time for this moment to come. You’ve certainly created the right conditions for innovation as your brain is finely tuned on the business and not distracted by detail.

And now for action

Possibly the most important point of all. Take your notes, head home, and get started on turning plans into reality!

Business breaks don’t have to be a full week, or far away. What’s important is to place yourself in conducive surroundings. I do this alone as did the man I emulate but you may choose to go with a business partner or friend so you can vocalise your thoughts. Go with what works for you and know that taking time out may seem like an extravagance, but it will pay dividends.

About the Author: Emma Jones is founder of Enterprise Nation www.enterprisenation.com, a business expert, and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up’ and ‘Working 5 to 9’

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About Emma Jones

Emma Jones is Founder and Editor of Enterprise Nation, the home business website. She has successfully started two businesses from home offices in London, Manchester and rural Shropshire. Following a career with an international accountancy firm, Emma started her first home based business at the age of 27 and successfully sold it just 15 months after launch. Redbrick Enterprises Ltd was founded in 2002 to advise the public sector on effective homeworking. Spotting a gap in the market to provide information and inspiration to homeworkers, Emma launched Enterprise Nation [www.enterprisenation.com], the home business website, in January 2006. The website is a free resource for people starting and growing a business at home and has a readership of more than 390,000 people. As well as site content, there is also a free fortnightly e-newsletter and podcast. Emma’s first book on how to start a business from home Spare Room Start Up: How to Start a Business from Home will be published by Harriman House in May 2008.

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