I meet a lot of business owners who tell me that they haven't had a proper holiday for years often for as long as they've been running their businesses. Are we supposed to be impressed by these people and their dedication to their business? Or should we sympathise with how unlucky they must be, to not be able to find the time to get away?
As I write this in August 2011, I've just enjoyed a wonderful two week break. I spent the first week in Wales, climbing mountains, walking round lakes and sleeping. Then I had a week at home, catching up on gardening, riding my horse and doing more sleeping! The result? Read on to find out!
Why Should You Give Your Marketing a Holiday?
I had two weeks off at Christmas last year and then worked through, without any real time off, until the end of July. By the time I went on holiday, I was really ready for it. I was tired, the ideas weren't flowing as they usually do and I didn't have all the energy I like to give my clients and staff. The result was that I wasn't giving my clients everything they expected, I wasn't inspiring my team on a daily basis and my marketing was suffering.
Some of my best ideas come when I'm away from my desk, so spending time up a mountain, when I'm focussing more on where to put my feet, allows me to really clear my mind and let the new ideas flow in. One aspect of good marketing is trying out new initiatives to see what works. We're bombarded with so many marketing messages these days, from every angle, that for your voice to be heard you need to say something different, or say it in a different way. You need to come up with new ideas to try; if you're tired and stuck in a rut, those ideas are not going to turn up. You'll carry on doing the same old things and be surprised when nothing different happens.
Taking a proper break from your business whether that means going away, or just having time at home to relax allows you to see the bigger picture of your business. When you're not busy dealing with all the day to day issues, you can really take time to just sit and look at your business from the outside.
When I was at the top of a mountain in Wales, the cloud cleared just long enough for us to see a lake, way below us, at the base of the cliff. It was like getting a bird's eye view of a business being able to see the whole thing in one go, rather than catching glimpses of it through the cloud. You need to get a full view of the shape of your business or the shape you want it to take to help you decide what marketing to do, to get you there.
Back home, I looked at the whole of my veg garden and drew a plan for how to make the most of it next year. I know what I'm going to plant and sow where, to get the best crops to keep us fed through the year. When you have a plan for the coming year, you can be much more prepared and make the most of every opportunity that comes along. Instead of leaving things to the last minute, you can get your seeds in the grounds in plenty of time to give you a healthy crop. Plan your marketing and you'll get much better results.
So if you're still thinking that you don't have time for a holiday, please think again and plan a break really soon. Your clients will understand they will notice the difference when you get back and your business will not fold if you're not there for a whole week.