Small Business Celebration
Being an entrepreneur can be tricky around the holidays. There’s the dichotomy of knowing you need to get work done, and also knowing that you need a break. It’s even more difficult when you have two holidays right next two each other – and often in the middle of a work-week – messing up your work mojo.
A recent study by Netflix seems to supportthis attitude. Theyhad over 5 million viewers watching during New Year’s Eve last year, a new record for the video streaming platform. They also found that 70 percent of people reported they preferred to stay in. Most people said going out isn’t worth the expense, hassle or stress.
However, thinking this way can be dangerous for entrepreneurs–especially solopreneurs–who have a “startup grind” mindset. Others feel guilty about taking time off of work, and instead, use the day to be productive about coming up with resolutions for the new year.
According to one study, women working more than 60 hours a week are more than three times as likely to suffer heart disease, cancer, arthritis or diabetes, and more than twice as likely to have chronic lung disease or asthma, as those working a 40 hours a week. Additionally, adding even brief diversions into your workweek are shown to increase our overall focus and productivity.
In another study, employees who were forced to take at least one 24 to 48-hour period completely free from work every week, their productivity increased, their overall job satisfaction went up, and their long-term outlook improved dramatically.
So, rather than skipping New Year’s Eve entirely, or using it to do more work, here are some suggestions on how to help you recharge – and boost your overall productivity while you’re at it.
We are becoming increasingly more isolated, which means that it is more important than ever for us to connect on a personal level. Ask yourself when the last time you went out for a non-work reason was. If you can’t remember, it’s time to get out of the house.
There are so many things going on every New Year’s Eve–no matter where you live in the world – it will be easy to find something to do that interests you no matter where you are.
While you may feel like this is the perfect time to catch up on Shark Tank or The Profit, instead try something light-hearted and easier on the brain. In my house, we’ve had movie marathons on New Year’s Eve in year’s past of the entire Harry Potter series, all Star Trek movies, all the Star Wars movies, etc.
Netflix has helpfully curated some countdowns with shows such as Fuller House and Prince of Peoria, or you can create something new of your own.
When you’re at home, it’s easy to feel like New Year’s is “just another night.” Booking a night in a hotel or on Airbnb can make you treat it as a special occasion.
Hotels often offer packages for locals, so be sure to check the special offers.
Thanks to social media, we can celebrate the New Year as it happens from Sydney, Australia all the way to Hawaii – and beyond. Like tracking Santa Claus and his sleigh, you can choose to spend the day online watching fireworks in every time zone–and sharing in the fun by chatting to people around the world.
Additionally, you can use the time to message friends and family and wish them a Happy New Year–especially if you’ve been too busy to do it because of work.
No matter what you do, remember to take time for yourself–whenever you can. Your work and health will be better for it.
Editor’s Note:Although the officialSmall Business Weekhas been postponed, we at Inc. feel it’s always appropriate to recognize the teams and companies that serve the needs of their communities and help keep Main Street humming–and not just for one week!
Sweet Spot makes and sells derrière-cloaking skirts in funky colors and patterns for female bikers and runners to wear over shorts and tights.But despite owninga 12-year-old Australian shepherd, founder Stephanie Lynnhad never heard of WellHaven, a $50 million company operating 41 veterinary hospitals that employ 450 people in five states.
WellHaven founderJohn Bork was similarly unfamiliar with his neighbor.”I had seen Sweet Spot but I never used it,” Bork says. “I didn’t really know what it was.”
From the awarding of government loans to the designation of “essential” status, coronavirus frequently has set Main Street businesses at odds with larger companies. But in places like Vancouver, where a very active chamber of commerce is an enthusiastic yenta for its members, large and middle-market companies have formed surprising partnerships with mom-and-pops to fight the pandemic.
For example, when Chandelier Bakery was unable to obtain flour to fulfill all requests for bread donations for frontline workers, United Grain Corporation, among the Pacific Northwest’s largest grain exporters, supplied the wheat. Ryonet, a $50 million supplier of equipment to screen-printing businesses, not only stepped up to manufacture masks and face shields itself but has also contracted with two of its small local customers, Brainless Tees and Opake Screen Printing, to decorate them.
And in Lynn’s case,the larger companyhelped completely turn her business around. Sweet Spot does between $350,000 and $600,000 in annual revenue, much of itat sporting events. On March 12, Lynn was selling at a pickleball tournament in College Station, Texas, while thecountrywas rapidly shutting down.
“I got on the plane in Austin, and by the time I changed planes in Phoenix enough events had canceled to take $50,000 off my plate,” she says.
The next day, she was sitting with her landlord, in tears because she would not be able to make rent. The following Monday she laid off her entire staff of six.
Bork, meanwhile, had approached the chamber for help. Government and industry leaders had begun asking veterinarians to donate their PPE to health-care workers who attend tohumans. Bork wanted to find a local business that could replace his surgical-grade masks and caps with something that would protect animals during procedures. The chamber quickly reached out to Sweet Spot.
The next morning, four days after Sweet Spot’s closure, Bork and his chief medical officer, Bob Lester, were at Lynn’s doorstep with a model surgical mask and cap. Lynn called in one of her seamstresses and over the next two days created prototypes from the fabric used for her skirts.
With check in hand for just over $10,000 to cover 500 masks and 500 caps,Lynn brought back her whole staff. “She would text me when she had 60 or 100 made,” Bork says. “I would walk over and fill up my backpack, bring them back to the office, box them up, and off they would go.” Sweet Spot filled the entire order in just under three weeks.
Bork ordered another 500 masks and caps, which he distributed to other veterinary hospitals in Vancouver and neighboring Portland, Oregon. With each donation, he included Lynn’s contact information.A few of those practices placed their own orders. Word spread, and other groups–Vancouver public schools, an organization of home inspectors–reached out.
With skirt orders down 90 percent, Lynn launched Facewear Fashions to go after the consumer PPE market. Those masks, with names like Pinch Me Pink Floral and Doilies for Your Face, retail for $14. (Businesses, which receive volume discounts, still account for 50 percentof mask sales.) Lynn plans to cross-promote her product lines. Buy a skirt, get a free mask made from the same material. “I match mine all the time,” she says.
The collaboration with WellHaven continues. Bork made an offer to match any donations of masks to worthy causes by other Vancouver businesses. When the Vancouver Farmers Market reopens, Sweet Spot will have a place in WellHaven’s booth.
“Had WellHaven not come about, I don’t know where I would be,” Lynn says. “They saved me completely.”
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