The silly season is upon us. While business ramps up for a lot of sectors over the summer, for others it’s time to down tools and take a break.
We canvassed some of Australia’s leading founders to get their tips for how to prepare for time away.
Ben Lipschitz, CEO and co-founder, FoodByUs
“The most important thing is to intend to have a break. It sounds obvious, but in the past, I have made the mistake of taking time off but still staying tethered to emails and tasks. Having a mindset that ‘this is my time to wind down and that is OK’ is so important. In addition, I like to encourage the team to do the same so that they too are refreshed when we return – it also stops them from potentially interrupting anyone else’s break (mine included).
“Finally, it’s important to have a few things planned – even locally – so that there are some guaranteed adventures in the break.”
Arjun Paliwal, Head of Research and founder, InvestorKit
“I forecast annual business results, targets and expenses to an 11-month period. That way, you have a healthy amount of pressure during the year, and you don’t have a guilty feeling or pressure going into the break. I also encourage leaders to bring excitement to their clients and their team about plans for 2023. It means people don’t go into 2023 with uncertainty, they all leave with high energy heading into the break.”
Nicho Plowman, co-founder of meditation app Insight Timer and Vedic Meditation teacher
“Good leaders who trust their team should be able to lead by example, put the tools down and trust that they have created a business that can operate without them for periods of time, thereby enabling them to rest and recuperate. So, my top tips would be to relinquish a bit of control, empower people and trust your team.”
Aaron Bassin, CEO and co-founder, Bridgit
“Our business services clients almost 365 days a year so we don’t really have a close of business. However, Bridgit is built through tech, good process and good people so when it comes to the public holidays, we can plan for time away appropriately, make sure we celebrate the wins along the way, take time out when needed and share the responsibilities across the business.”
Angus Stevens, CEO and co-founder, Start Beyond
“I think it’s so important that you are able to stop; you need to allow your mind to not get sucked into the smallness of daily emails. For me I have focused on setting up and empowering the team so they feel confident and they know what they are doing whilst I am away.”
Dean Hawkins, CEO and co-founder, eo
“As a start-up delivering our first product at the beginning of January, we won’t have a lot of time to down tools.”
Maria Halasz, CEO, Stride Equity
“I was incredibly fortunate to take six months off earlier in 2022 and it is an absolute must for business founders and leaders to allow themselves to take a break, especially ahead of a new year. It’s important to plan well ahead and keep communication very clear with all stakeholders. By doing so your mind will feel clearer and more open to the break.”
Alex West, CEO, Swoop
“The main focus for the business is encouraging staff to take a break; that helps the business wind down, and once you encourage your staff to do that, the senior team can do this too. I find I never shut down immediately, it’s always a gradual process. You spend the first week worrying about the details, by the second week you have moved away a little bit more, and by the third even more so.
“But time away is so important, you get to think about the business, changes and initiatives you can implement and how to help improve it. Stepping away from the tools gives you a wider perspective.”