Four steps for Regional Business success: Understanding the statistics – Part Three

Give yourself a break.

As a regional business owner or CEO, this isn’t easy.

I get it. I’ve worked in small businesses since I was a kid. It’s bloody hard work and sometimes it feels like there’s no end in sight.

We can’t know what we don’t know and quite often business skills are far too often overlooked. This is the stuff we should be taught in school. And, in the absence of holistic business education, we even start working in areas that are misaligned with our strongest skill sets.

Think about the time you’ve spent developing the technical skills, knowledge, training and qualifications to perform your job. Why is that we expect that the skills necessary to run and grow a business will suddenly appear the minute we start trading?

Once you decide to go easy on yourself, you can give yourself a break – literally.

We know that a third of all small business owners work more than 50 hours a week and 58 per cent earn less than $50,000 per year (Source: NSW Small Business Commissioner). They take, on average, less than two weeks leave a year (Source: MGI Australian Family & Private Business Survey, 2013).

As a business owner, it’s likely that you’re bearing the burden of all the business risk and you’re not getting the rewards. When you’re in business, it’s easy to fall into the trap of working longer hours to keep things humming, but that’s a short-term solution at best.

Your family and your health will suffer long-term if you don’t address it. Owner burnout is a sure-fire way to instability – and failure – in the business.

Make sure you pay yourself and that you take holidays. If that scenario instantly provokes an “as if” from you, it’s time to call in help. Again, outsource where possible, consider short-term and permanent staffing arrangements, and seek out the business advice needed to make it happen.

We’ll be back again shortly with the next step to support regional businesses to avoid becoming a statistic.

You can join us on this journey by clicking the “Follow The Academy on Facebook” or “Connect with The Academy on LinkedIn” links, located at the bottom of this page, on the right hand side. You can view the second blog in series by clicking here.

Jeremy Hutchings is a business development specialist and CEO and co-founder of the Regional Entrepreneur Academy. He lives in Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia, with his wife, Jane, and their four incredible children. You can contact Jeremy at

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