Is your health your number one business risk?

Burning the midnight oil in your business makes you feel as though you are working hard and chasing your goals. But making time for some self-love is a healthier way to increase your productivity – and look after your business’s most important asset – you.

It’s a lesson Peter Strong, CEO of the Council of Small Business of Australia, learnt the hard way.

Strong was your typical small business owner. He admits he always put his work ahead of his health. Until a few years ago he was juggling life as the owner of a bookstore in Canberra with advocacy duties for Cosboa.

It took a heart attack to force him to slow down.

“I could see the signs, but I did not do enough to change my lifestyle,” he says.

Days consisted of phone calls, meetings, serving customers and overseeing functions at the bookstore into the evening.

“I think people get so focused on their businesses that they can’t step away from them,” he says.

Now, in his role as head of the peak small business body, Strong is using his own story to encourage other small business owners to slow down.

“We [the Small Business Council of Australia], as an organisation are telling people that it will increase your productivity if you take time to step away from your business,” he says.

Strong says often the home-based micro business owners are hardest hit.

“It can be very lonely being a business owner and sometimes you can feel isolated or overwhelmed,” he says.

And it’s easy to turn to vices, such as food or alcohol, or to work 24/7 in order to cope.

: Peter Strong, CEO of the Council of Small Business of Australia


Business coach John Downes says unless business owners look after themselves not only will they struggle with productivity in their business but also, ultimately, their business might fail.

“If you as a business owner don’t look after yourself someone will end up having to look after you,” he says.

“The second part is that if you don’t look after yourself you won’t be able to look after all the people who are dependent on you.”

“The third part is that if you don’t look after yourself you are going to be a pain to deal with and you are going to have unhappy, unmotivated staff. Who wants to work with, or live with, or be brought up by, someone like that?”

Downes, the principal of , says business owners need to make a conscious choice whether they let themselves be “run down and run over by their business”.

He says making a decision to put yourself first means that your business will run more productively and you will be able to provide for your family and support your staff who, in turn, have families and commitments of their own.

“This is serious stuff and people need to really think about it,” he says.

Downes says there are simple things to do to inject some exercise and wellbeing into the day such as mindfulness, yoga, stand-up meetings, walking meetings, and stand up desks.

The office workout to boost your productivity

SCHEDULE a walking meeting. Downes says take a topic and discuss it on your feet.

HAVE regular stairwell meetings. You meet in the stairwell, stand up and address the issue quickly.

YOGA or tai chi in the office shouldn’t take up too much room and will be suitable for most staff.

CONSIDER corporate team sponsorship of events that will keep staff active, build morale and provide branding.

IF there is gym nearby negotiate a deal for your team.

HIRE a personal trainer to lead a session once or twice a week.




Creating a functional workspace at home

Creating a functional workspace at home

No spare room? No problem. Discover how to carve out a functional workspace in your home.

Upskill or Outsource: What does your small business really need?

Upskill or Outsource: What does your small business really need?

Are you juggling too many hats and working in, and not on, your business? It may be time to upskill your team – or outsource some work.