Running your own business is a serious commitment, and when you’re striving to meet goals and make a profit it’s only natural that you’d want to pour your time and energy into work. Effectively, entrepreneurs are notorious for abstaining from vacations, with the view that it isn’t a valuable use of time; because time is money, after all.
The irony is, by turning down the chance to explore the world, you could be bypassing experiences that could help your business thrive. Not only does taking a break help reduce your stress levels and avoid workplace burnout, but exploring new countries and cultures could provide you with precious inspiration, knowledge and new contacts that could foster business success.
If you’re not convinced yet, here are five points that may change your mind about breaking free of your routine to travel.
1) It will prevent burnout
Overworking yourself can lead to stress and other health concerns. Take the time to disconnect your mind from business, so that you feel recharged and inspired when you return to work. Travel can also provide you with the chance to relax and reflect on what you could be doing differently. Ideas come to you at the most unexpected times, and your best idea yet may even come to you on the top of a mountain!
In fact, the feel-good endorphins released during exercise have been proven to improve brain function and boost creativity, so it’s worth throwing yourself into adrenaline spiking adventures. This bucket list guide outlines plenty of exciting activities to pick from that are sure to get your heart racing and stress levels down.
2) You’ll meet new people from around the world
Humans are sociable creatures and there’s something extra special about forging relationships with people in different countries. Travelling to new places and starting conversations with individuals from various cultures and backgrounds is an incredible way of boosting your emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills.
And you never know who you might meet when you’re travelling – it’s possible that you could even stumble across a potential new business contact or somebody who can share localised business experience and knowledge, so it’s worth putting yourself out there.
3) It can help you develop language and communication skills
In a similar vein, you may find that travelling boosts your ability to communicate with people, and not only through learning snippets of their language. Of course, the ability to speak multiple languages can be incredibly beneficial in business – and there’s no better way to pick up a foreign tongue than by immersing yourself in the country where it is spoken natively. But, more importantly, the capacity to read people can also prove itself invaluable.
While travelling, you’ll likely find yourself in situations where there is a language barrier and you’re forced to communicate through alternative methods. You’ll learn how facial expressions, hand gestures and tone of voice convey meaning around the world, and develop a better understanding of people in the process.
4) It will broaden your mind
Visit new places with an open mind and you could find yourself looking at things from a whole new perspective. Observe processes, traditions, solutions, values and interactions. You could pick up some useful tips and lessons to take home with you, whether it’s related to how you do business or simply the lifestyle you are leading – because there is life beyond work!
You’d be amazed at how leaving your comfort zone and becoming more culturally aware can broaden your mind and foster productive out-of-the-box thinking. Lessons may not even be directly related to business; simply learning how to be more adaptable in new situations – like the ones you face while travelling – could be useful going forward.
5) It can drive creativity
Spending every day in the same routine, in the same place can stifle creativity. By embracing new experiences, you can find inspiration for potential projects and new approaches to your work. Often the most exciting ideas come to you when you allow your mind to drift from your work.
So, taste the local food, chat to the local people and explore the beautiful sights – there’s a world of inspiration out there.
Of course, this is just the
tip of the iceberg. There are countless benefits to be reaped from travelling
the world that can boost your personal wellbeing, open your mind to exciting
new prospects and provide momentum to grow your business further. It’s time to
THE EMOTIONAL AND FINANCIAL COST OF WORKING WITH OUTDATED TECHNOLOGY
Slow Tech Could Waste 24 Hours of Worktime a Year
In this digital age, businesses are hugely reliant on technology to get work done. And this is especially the case for one-man-bands and small home-based businesses who may count on a single computer to keep things running smoothly from their home office space.
This said, if the technology at hand is slow or outdated, it could become more of a hinderance than a help. Investing in upgraded tech may seem like a steep expense, however, delays cost time and time is money. In fact, recent research looking at the impact of tech troubles in the workplace found that delays caused by slow technology could add up to a hefty 24 days’ worth of worktime a year per person.
Here’s why keeping hold of outdated tech when its past its best could cost your business in the long run.
The biggest tech hold-ups
Delving deeper into the research, it’s evident that the most time can be lost on some of the smallest of tasks. Simply waiting for your computer to boot up, for example, can add up to 8.8 days of lost time over the space of a year (17 minutes a day), while 8.5 days can be lost to opening emails (16.5 minutes a day). Slow software has the most to answer for, however, contributing 10.4 days’ worth of wasted worktime (20 minutes a day). When you think about your own day rate or that of an employee’s, this lost time all adds up to some serious money, right? Probably more than it would cost to upgrade your tech.
Productivity can suffer too
Glitchy tech may not only cost your business time and money; productivity can take a serious hit too. According to the study, a third of workers admit losing motivation when they have to wait on tech to respond. And this comes as no surprise. When faced with freezing programmes and buffering browsers every day, frustration can build up. And when someone’s suffering frustration, productivity and motivation can drop. As a result, it may turn out it’s not just the tech that is slowing down tasks, but a reduction in employee efficiency too.
Tech expert and anti-futurist, Theo Priestley, argues that the issues caused by outdated tech at work can even have a negative effect on someone’s work-life balance and wellbeing. He explains, “not being able to complete work or feel productive or have a sense of accomplishment in a task can be a stressful experience. And depending on the nature of the work, more often than not, employees will need to work additional hours to compensate for the wasted time, which has a knock-on impact on personal and family life.”
Outdated tech can put your business at risk
Beyond the costs to your business, outdated tech can also put it at increased risk of cybercrime. The older the technology, the easier it is for hackers to exploit it. What’s more, if you don’t update your security software regularly, it won’t be equipped to address the latest security threats.
Priestley explains “outdated technology and software means easy exploitation from inside and outside the organisation. If you’re not using the latest versions of operating systems, or software that you’ve invested in, then there’s greater chance for someone to exploit known weaknesses in that system and expose or steal data or valuable company information from them.”
What is the solution?
Regularly assess what condition your hardware and software are in and where delays are occurring. If you find yourself waiting on the same problem day in day out, it’s probably time to do something about it. But how often should you be upgrading your IT equipment?
In general, a computer being used for business could do with being upgraded every two to three years for optimal performance. Alternatively, sometimes simply upgrading the memory or hard drive can help applications run more quickly. Any other equipment such as printers, keyboards, etc. only really need to be replaced when they break.
As for software, upgrade it regularly. While it can be a temptation to stick with older versions that you’ve grown accustomed to, the newer versions will offer improved capabilities, efficiency and security.
While computers slowing down over time seems inevitable and something that we’ve accepted will happen, it’s important for businesses to recognise the problem can have a bigger knock-on effect than you may think. By investing in updated, efficient technology, the savings experienced via productivity are likely to vastly outweigh the price of the tech itself. So, next time your computer freezes, perhaps consider whether it’s time for an upgrade.
OFFSHORE COMPANY FORMATION TACTICS FOR SMEs
James Turner, Director at company formation specialists, Turner Little
Starting a business brings with it its own set of challenges, as well as opportunities. But when setting up a business, the where is often as important as the how, and knowing what to expect in terms of company formation regulations and requirements is key, so you can start your entrepreneurial journey on the right foot.
James Turner, Director at company formation specialists, Turner Little, takes us through what we need to consider when it comes to offshore company formation, and the benefits it can offer start-ups and SMEs.
“Despite what the media will have you believe, there are numerous legitimate reasons to use an offshore company. Offshore companies can often provide SMEs with access to better infrastructure and legal frameworks. Regulations in different parts of the world could prove to be restrictive for businesses by preventing foreign entities from launching factories, buying property or investing in local companies. In this instance, setting up an offshore company can help in completing transactions and provide you with the ability to hold any local assets necessary,” says James.
“However, one of the fundamental reasons for setting up an offshore company is often privacy. Moving assets or setting up a business is often done in a country that offers more tightly protected data security, has a robust legal framework and a network of service providers that streamline the setting up process. Switzerland is often the country of choice when it comes to privacy, as it’s synonymous with security and data privacy. Another reason SMEs should consider setting up an offshore company is tax efficiency. Tax advantages are offered by different jurisdictions. For example, Singapore has one of the lowest corporate tax rates, while the Cayman Islands might be more ideal for freelancers who are looking to minimise the effective tax rate on their businesses,” adds James.
“Offshore companies provide SMEs with the ability to mitigate risks that arise from political instability or currency volatility. We have already seen businesses starting to register European entities in order to limit their exposure to the fallout that may result from Brexit. Whatever the reason, spreading your operations across jurisdictions may be the best long-term business strategy SMEs can adopt to secure future growth,” adds James.
Turner Little specialises in creating bespoke solutions for individuals and businesses of all sizes. The knowledge and expertise of their specialists will be able to assist with any enquires, no matter how complex.
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