Five ways SME owners can win in business and in love this festive season

It’s that time of year again – we’re busy focusing on making the most of Christmas trade. Writing the festive season to-do list in one of the most stressful times of the year for business owners, means being stretched in different directions, oblivious to what a strain that puts on our personal relationships. And are we mention the added pressure of COVID-19 and its impact on personal and business relationships?

SME owners face a series of “tug-of-war” battles at this tome of year:

  • Pressure to take time off to spend with loved ones against pressure to meet KPIs.
  • Desire to connect against desire to meet employee needs.
  • Ambition to savour the season against the ambition to reach quicker turnaround times.

As a result, relationships become strained as the rest of your family plans Christmas parties and boozy lunches while you’re packing orders and doing administrative tasks.

So, how can you maintain a strong relationship with your partner while ensuring you’re reaching your business goals this festive season?

1. Communication is key

Communication in business and relationships are paramount to the longevity and quality of any connection. Share your vision, how it may be different coming out of COVID-19 and how it’s impacting you, involve your partner in your goals and share milestones. This strengthens your support network but diversifies ideas and limits Christmas overwhelm. Be sure to discuss what impact pursuing these objectives has on your relationship, always focusing on the positives to maintain the festive cheer!

2. Schedule work and play

Striking work-life balance requires drawing a line between professional and personal schedules. No matter how busy you are, plan time to connect at least once a week. Even if it’s just a quick coffee date or movie night, stepping away from the keyboard, warehouse or office and having uninterrupted time together is essential during busy times. Ambiguous plans like “this week” can easily be pushed to the side, set a time, mark it in your calendar and (just like a meeting or deadline) stick to it! Long after Christmas trade has passed your relationship stays present.

3. Put your hand up and open your mouth

You guide your employees to deliver what you require, the same degree of communication is vital to share with your partner. Ask for the support you need. Being vulnerable isn’t a weakness in fact it’s proven to strengthen relationships. Not only are you giving your partner a chance to step up, you are honouring the relationship by partnering through the challenges. However, respecting your partner’s boundaries by considering it’s a stressful time for everyone and considering their needs creates a fair exchange of open communication.

4. Celebrate the wins

It’s easy to get caught up in the momentum of business at the best of times but even more so with seasonal businesses which require extended hours. Christmas looks different this year for many reasons as one or both of you could be dealing with detachment from extended family or friends. Commemorating milestones creates bonds of unity, including your partner in the wins no matter how big or small supports building a deeper connection. Additionally, this creates space for your partner’s needs to be openly discussed. To the same degree business relationships are all about give and take, and what you give to the table is just as important as what you take.

5. Practise mindfulness and gain control of your emotions

Mental, physical and social health play a significant role in the success of an SME owner, particularly during this typically stressful season. When you feel overwhelmed or stressed, on the verge of a rant potentially with the knee jerk reaction of taking it out on a loved one, pause. Are you worried about not meeting KPIs? Are you missing physical activity or hobbies? Are you struggling to balance the needs of staff ? Step away from the work, reflect on the true cause of stress and consider the best way to address it before venting on a loved one.

Small changes such as conscious communication, scheduling work-free time, asking for help, celebrating wins and practising mindfulness influence the ability to better control emotions while strengthening partnerships. This aids the production and release of the happy hormones dopamine and serotonin, enhancing your mood and increasing energy so you can make the most of the festive season both in business and life.

Louanne Ward, Relationship Strategist, Writer and Motivational Speaker