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11 Reasons to Have the Exit Conversation

When the mention of selling your business comes up, you might feel a little uneasy about starting the discussion. Your business is your baby, and the thought of letting go can be overwhelming. The truth is; however, failing to plan is a plan to fail when it comes to your business exit strategy. You need to have an exit strategy in place for your business. Everyone thinks of their future, but they don’t always take active steps in the present to prepare for what they want tomorrow. There are many reasons why you should discuss when and how to exit your business. Here are eleven reasons to have the exit conversation now:

1) Anything can happen at any time – This is so true. We cannot anticipate what will happen unexpectedly. For this reason, you need to have an emergency exit plan in place. What will you do if you have something happen that requires you to step down from your business quickly?

2) Family obligations are taking more time from the business – Business owners run businesses and have families all the time, but depending on the size of your business and the size of your family, you may need to spend more time away from the business. If you don’t have a team in place that can run the business without you for a few days, exiting might be your best bet.

If obligations, such as an ill family member, or a lot of educational or extracurricular commitments for your children are taking from your time, you could experience a negative shift in the dynamic of your business. A strategic partner can help you free up some time for your family while still allowing you to take an active part in your business’s growth. This type of partnership doesn’t require an immediate exit from your business and allows you to discuss an end-goal for this exit strategy with the partner you join.

3) Personal health issues are pulling you away from the business – When your personal health is in decline, it can be difficult to continue running the business. A business owner doesn’t need the undue stress caused by juggling an illness and the company.

Furthermore, if you find your health declining, or the health of a close loved-one, your priorities might change. Your view on where your time needs to be spent might be more focused on your personal relationships versus constantly working on growing your business.

Again, spending your time away from the business will have a direct negative effect on your revenue and daily operations. This makes the goal of achieving maximum value more challenging. Therefore, having an exit plan is essential.

4) You don’t have anyone in place to take over the business – You’re a great leader, and you run your business like a well-oiled machine. However, what happens when you’re gone? You need to have a plan in place. If you find your children aren’t interested in taking over, or if you don’t have any children, or if you don’t have a manager in place to take over, you need to know what you will do when it’s time to leave your business behind.

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Why Now is the Time to Sell to Private Equity as a Small Enterprise

Recent data from the Centre of Management Buy-Out (CMBOR) at Imperial College Business School, in association with Investec and Equistone Partners Europe, has shown that the number of small buy-out (sub-€10m enterprise value) private equity backed transactions have nearly doubled in the UK from H2 2017 to H1 2018, rising from 24 to 48 deals. Statistics also show that there has been strong growth in Europe, increasing by 26 per cent to 168 deals.

The north of England has also shown promising statistics in terms of deal value, increasing from £25m in H1 2017 to £28m in H1 2018.

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Benchmark International Facilitates the Sale of Technical Resource Group to White Wolf Capital, LLC.

Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the sale of Technical Resource Group to White Wolf Capital, LLC. Technical Resource Group is a Texas-based IT Staffing firm that provides contract, contract-to-hire, and direct hire placement services to technical professionals in a number of industries, including transportation, IT, food, financial, healthcare, and government.

White Wolf Capital, LLC is a private equity firm that began operations in late 2011 and is focused on making control-investments in leading middle market companies. It practices a solutions-oriented and flexible investment approach with experience in leverage buyouts, management buyouts and recapitalizations.

In reference to the transaction, Scott Clary, owner of Technical Resource Group, explained his experience with Benchmark International. “I never thought there would be such an aggressive market for my company. The Benchmark International team was very professional and knowledgeable throughout the entire process. Having an experienced M&A advisor, like Benchmark International, allowed us to solely focus on top-quality buyers in the market for our company” he said. “In addition, the Benchmark International team also ensured that any buyers they presented culturally aligned with the values my company stands by.”

Benchmark International Director, Luis Vinals, added “Having a client like Scott, a man who loves his business, is always a joy. Throughout the entire process, he was communicative and collaborative. With the Benchmark Team at his side, Scott was able to procure the deal he desired. Open communication allowed us to have strategic conversations that ultimately lead to a great deal for our client.”

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Life After Sale

There are a myriad of reasons why you might look to sell your company: retirement, further resources are required to grow, or it is an opportunistic time. Whatever the reason, this is likely to be the pinnacle of your career as the amount of time and money invested into your business will come to fruition when it sells, securing the future for you and your family.

But what happens after a sale? The business which you have invested years into, and the place where you spent the majority of your time, has passed on to somebody else. You may have made a tidy sum of money from the sale, which many people would be satisfied with as they may never have to work again and be able to live in the lap of luxury, but once the holiday of a lifetime has been taken, what then?

And what about how the company will thrive going forward? This is maybe something that you have grown from the beginning, and you want to see its continued success, as well as ensure the future of your employees who have been loyal to you.

At Benchmark International, we understand that there is life after the sale of a business and so structure a shareholder’s exit to suit both them, and the welfare of the company going forward.

The following are companies which Benchmark International has sold and structured the deal to allow for a successful life after a sale for both the shareholder(s) and the business.
ROC NORTHWEST

ROC Northwest had been established for nine years before the shareholders, Hilary and Glyn Waterhouse, decided to sell. They had built up a company which provided education, residential, and domiciliary care services to young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties, autism spectrum disorders, learning and physical disabilities, and those with challenging behaviour issues, from seven properties throughout the north west of the UK.

They had a vested interest in ensuring that the company was sold to the right acquirer, not just to ensure that the welfare of the young people in their care was maintained, but also to ensure that the staff that had been loyal to them remained in employment. As such, a large number of interested parties were presented to ROC Northwest and the shareholders were able to choose the acquirer which best fit their ideals. Commenting on the acquirer’s plans going forward, Glyn said:

“We actually sold the company to a firm called CareTech Holdings PLC. They wanted to keep our managers, they wanted to keep the staff, they wanted to keep the homes. In fact, they didn’t want to change anything about the business. It was very important because once you start a business from scratch, you want that business to succeed; you’ve got loyalty from your staff, and you want the staff to be in place and have their jobs, so it was very important that we found a buyer that followed that ethos and allowed us to continue the hard work that we were doing.”

The shareholders at ROC Northwest wished to sell the company as they were looking at other business opportunities and wanted to spend more time together as a family. As this was the case, Benchmark International negotiated a seven figure deal with the majority forming a cash payment on completion. Now, Hilary has been able to purchase an equine business and has a total of eleven horses, growing from two.

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Benchmark International Wins ‘Best for Acquisition, Growth & Exit Strategies 2018’ in the UK Enterprise Awards

Benchmark International is delighted to announce that it has been named by SME News as ‘Best for Acquisition, Growth & Exit Strategies 2018’ in its UK Enterprise Awards.

Part of AI Global Media, the international provider of corporate news and information, SME News produces quarterly publications with the latest news, features and deals across the UK SME landscape.

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When Do I Tell My Employees I'm Selling?

The thought of selling your business has been on your mind for quite some time, and now you have made the decision to sell. The business is ready to go and you have been working with your advisor to bring in a suitable buyer. The offer comes in and you have signed a letter of intent. The process is in motion, and this is what you have been waiting for, but what about your employees? Your exit plan has been on your mind, but your employees probably haven’t given much thought to what will happen if and when you exit the business. You have a couple options when it comes to sharing the news of your business sale to your employees.

Share Nothing:

Some business owners opt to not share the decision to sell with their employees at all. This option can be viewed as inconsiderate, but it does alleviate the risk of a mass exodus from the company. There are pros and cons to any decision, but not telling your employees right away and keeping information for yourself allows you to keep them from undue stress.

It’s important to protect the integrity of the deal and the company. This means you need to keep details under wraps. If you spill the beans to your employees, there is no guarantee that the information will stay within your company, and it could be concerning for your client base if they catch a whiff of the pending sale.

This doesn’t mean you can’t put things in place to protect your employees through a transition, of course. You just need to pay attention to their needs and ask your advisor what your options are in a sale. If you choose this route, you need to be prepared to extinguish any rumors and answer employee questions the best you can if they notice any changes taking place.

Keep Them in the Loop:

Some owners think the best policy is to be transparent with employees from the outset. The decision to sell has been made, and you are exploring options. So, you want to inform your employees what’s going on. You can be up front with employees and let them know of your plans to sell and your desire to find the right buyer for the company who will instill the same values you hold as a business leader.

This will need to be handled delicately, so your employees will remain comfortable throughout the process. You will need to drive home the initiative that you are doing what is best for the company as a whole and selling the business doesn’t mean the end of the business but rather the growth of the business. It is important to keep the conversation positive, so your employees will get on board with your plans.

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Benchmark International's Luis Vinals Announced as Winner of the 9th Annual Emerging Leaders Awards

The M&A Advisor announced the winners of the Emerging Leaders Awards on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. The M&A Advisor, renowned globally for its recognition of leading M&A, financing and turnaround professionals, created this event to promote mentorship and professional development amongst the emerging business leaders. Luis Vinals was chosen from a pool of nominees by an independent judging panel of distinguished business leaders.

“The Annual M&A Advisor Emerging Leaders Awards was born as the 40 Under 40 Awards in the United States in 2010 to recognize and celebrate the achievements of young M&A, Financing and Turnaround professionals who had reached a significant level of success and made a notable contribution to their industry and community. With the expansion of the Emerging Leaders program to the United Kingdom, and Europe in 2016, the 2018 US award winners join a truly global network of outstanding young professionals,” said David Fergusson, President and Co-CEO of The M&A Advisor.

On Friday, September 14th, 2018 The M&A Advisor will host a black tie Awards Gala at the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan to introduce the Emerging Leaders Award Winners to the business community and celebrate their achievements. The Awards Gala is a feature of the 2018 Emerging Leaders Summit – an exclusive event pairing current and past Emerging Leaders winners together with their peers and industry stalwarts.

Luis Vinals is a Transaction Director at Benchmark International. He leads a team of analysts to help achieve Benchmark International’s clients’ goals of growing or exiting their businesses. Luis has experience in many different industries including, importing/exporting, specialty manufacturing, business services, etc. Luis’s experience in international trade and banking provides a unique perspective to the various transactions that he leads.

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Dry Powder in Private Equity: A Struggle to Spend or a Welcome Resource?

Dry powder is currently a hot topic within the private equity industry because the levels of dry powder are at a record high since the financial crisis, with over $1T of committed capital available.

It is the term used for the amount of cash reserves or liquid assets used by an investor for investment purposes, but has not yet been deployed and there are a number of reasons why there is an excess. In part, there are surplus cash reserves as a result of the strength of fundraising – more cash risen, more cash reserves. However, this is a tale of two halves as private equity has not been spending as much in previous years – asset prices have been inflating and private equity firms are reluctant to pay a premium for these assets. In fact, there has been a year-on-year decrease in private equity funding from 2015 to 2017.

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Upcoming M&A Webinar: Now that the Valuation is Set, Here’s Where You will Win or Lose the Deal

July 26th @ 10am EST

Register Now >> http://bit.ly/2Nvampu 

Many sellers think they have reached the finish line once the buyer has been selected or perhaps when the letter of intent is executed. Even those who know they haven’t reached that line often believe all key elements of the transaction have been ironed out and all that remains is the “technical” part. To better understand many of the material issues that remain open after the letter of intent is executed, this webinar will walk participants through a wide array of those
open issues. 

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Benchmark International has Successfully Facilitated the Sale of Taylor Partnership (Immigration) Limited to Newland Chase Limited

Posted on July 9, 2018 By in UK Deals + UK M&A

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the sale of Taylor Partnership to Newland Chase.

Taylor Partnership is an immigration law firm specialising in a niche market, preparing and submitting visa applications for students worldwide and managing Tier 4 licences awarded by the Home Office for prestigious, independent boarding schools in the UK that need to maintain compliancy in order to retain the licence.

Newland Chase, a wholly owned subsidiary of CIBT, is a global immigration company providing specialist immigration services worldwide. The group of companies provide best-in-class visa and work permit services for expats and businesses, from large multinational corporations to small and medium-sized companies and start-ups, in more than 180 countries around the world.

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Tags: UK Deals, UK M&A

The Benefits of Choice in Formal M&A Process: Partnership Essentials

After an M&A deal has been concluded, it is unusual for the seller to depart a business immediately. Whether it is a short-term work out or a longer-term growth plan, invariably there will be is a period in which the buyer and seller will operate in partnership.

In all partnerships, be they personal or professional, the ability to achieve the outcomes and aspirations sought relies to some degree upon the compatibility of the individuals. Almost all studies on the essential components and attributes of successful partnerships, unsurprisingly, conclude that the dynamics of a partnership are determined by the same criteria as any relationship, namely, the personalities involved.

The reason for failed M&A transactions has been studied extensively by academics and professionals alike, but these studies contain little to no data comparing the success and failure rates of transactions concluded with the aid of a formal competitive M&A process and those without. However, common to almost all studies of failed M&A transactions, and often deep into the reports, are cursory references to cultural integrations, yet these are rarely addressed or understood during negotiations.

To truly understand whether the fundamentals for an effective and successful partnership exist in a new relationship is not simple, but it is an exercise that can be explored in the context of a process that exposes the business owner—the seller—to choice. It is a common misconception that the M&A processes only generate choices through the creation of price competition.

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Inspiring the Millennial Generation

Benchmark International is a worldwide company, with offices in the UK, South Africa, Europe and the USA. A global company requires a large number of employees – a figure that is currently growing for Benchmark International.

Sourcing the right candidate for the role is probably one of the most difficult things to do, particularly now as a third of the global workforce are millennials – a generation that receives a lot of negative press and by all accounts is not a group of employees you would want in the workplace.

Words that are synonymous with the group are entitled, unfocused, narcissistic, lazy, selfish – among a whole host of other words with negative connotations.

But what has cultivated such an entitled (enter other negative words here) generation? Or what has caused such a backlash against them?

In a popular viral video, motivational speaker and marketing consultant Simon Sinek gives four reasons as to why this has happened and ties it in to why it is now causing problems in the workplace. He attributes it to PARENTING.

Sinek claims that millennials have been subject to failed parenting strategies, derived from being mollycoddled in such scenarios where children have received participation medals when they’ve placed last, or received top grades in school for work because of the persistence of a parent. This then causes a problem in the workplace as parents are not there to secure a promotion for their child.

 

TECHNOLOGY

Technology is a problem for millennials according to Sinek because of engagement in social media. He states that millennials are constantly engaged with social media because it is an addiction – when a person receives a ‘like’ for a status, picture etc., or receives a message, dopamine is released from the hypothalamus in the brain, the same chemical that is released when someone smokes, drinks, or gambles. Sinek says that technology is being used to deal with stress, much like an alcoholic would depend on alcohol, and has prevented millennials from developing meaningful relationships, as they will turn to technology as opposed to a friend.

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Benchmark International Facilitates the Sale of Sonne Tribble, LLC

Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the sale of Sonne Tribble. LLC dba Chris’s Custom Cabinets. Chris’s Custom Cabinets is a well-established manufacturer of high-end, custom cabinets for luxury home builders, remodelers, and individual homeowners.

The acquirer is a high net worth individual who was looking to acquire and run a single business in the Mid-South region. This individual’s experience in the construction industry and personal hobbies made this venture a good fit. The buyer plans to continue the legacy of Chris’s Custom Cabinets and make the business grow.

The Benchmark International team put in the man power to search various local markets to find the perfect buyer for this organization. In addition, the team worked alongside all involved parties to see the deal through to completion. Benchmark International brought its expertise to the table to bring the deal through to the closing. The deal was accomplished by utilizing the SBA program, which provided the prior owner a liquidity event and exit strategy.

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Getting Down To Brass Tax

You’ve probably noticed by now that Benchmark International is growing. Geographic expansion is the most obvious outward sign of our growth. We didn’t reinvent the wheel of corporate strategy. Given the current economic climate, many other organizations are expanding geographically as well. They’re looking to capture a greater share of their existing markets, penetrate new markets, and attract new talent amongst many other things. These decisions, in terms of geographic expansion, are usually more calculated than many of us would or will ever realize.

While organizations are expanding geographically, many of these organizations are relocating their headquarters altogether. There are a few easily discernible and comprehensible considerations for expansion/relocation with many of them relating to taxation. We’ve witnessed the exodus from the Northeast to the South, really since the commercialization of air conditioning, but now we are seeing movement from all directions into the South. Quite frankly, the tax landscape is much friendlier in the South.

The multi-billion dollar leasing giant Hertz (NYSE: HTZ) announced in 2013 that they were relocating from Park Ridge, NJ to Estero, FL. They distinctly noted that the cost of doing business in New Jersey had become too much in comparison to other states such as Florida. In fact, the state of Florida and Lee County offered Hertz $84mm in tax credits. Florida’s corporate tax rate is noticeably more appealing at 5.5% compared to New Jersey’s 9%. Another selling point was Florida’s income tax rate of 0% in comparison to New Jersey’s bracketed income tax up to 8.97%. You might ask, why would income tax rates factor into Hertz or any company’s decision to expand or relocate? Well, Florida’s 0% income tax has been a noticeable driver behind its population growth. Consequently, the talent pool is expanding rapidly and the talent pool is undoubtedly a draw for a multi-billion dollar organization like Hertz. Between the glaring differences in tax rates, the county and state tax credits offered, and many other tax factors not discussed here (property tax for instance), it was an easy decision for Hertz to relocate.

Another case of corporate relocation to the South is that of CKE Restaurants. You’re probably familiar with their Frisco Thickburger making fast-food restaurants: Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. They announced in 2016 that they were consolidating their St. Louis, MO and Carpinteria, CA corporate offices and moving them to Franklin, TN. Much like Hertz’s case, the tax implications were too great to ignore. California’s corporate tax rate is 8.84% in comparison to 6.5% for Tennessee. Tennessee’s income tax rate is 0% (with the exception of dividends) in comparison to California’s bracketed income tax up to a staggering 12.3%.

We could discuss at length several other advantages, especially relating to taxation, of expanding or relocating to the South, but these are just some of the most transparent ones. Barring a dramatic philosophical shift in tax philosophy in the South, it seems that we’ll continue to witness substantial business growth for big and small businesses alike.

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Benchmark International Facilitates the Sale of Residential Air Conditioning Services LLC to Coastland Enterprises LLC DBA Temperature Pro

Benchmark International has successfully represented Residential Air Conditioning Services LLC in their sale to Coastland Enterprises LLC DBA Temperature Pro. Residential Air Conditioning Services, LLC provides AC service, repair, and AC installation, as well as heating repair in Houston, Texas. The company services and installs all brands of HVAC-R equipment for commercial and residential customers as well as for new construction.

The Benchmark International team worked hard to find a buyer that would be a good fit for Residential Air Conditioning Services, LLC. Ultimately, the team found a buyer that was looking to expand its market share in the Houston area, and they got the client the best value for his business. The acquirer, TemperaturePro®, is a growing professional air conditioning and heating service with many locations throughout the United States.

Lance Abney, owner of Residential Air Conditioning Services, LLC stated “Working with Benchmark International allowed me to achieve my exit goals within an appropriate timeline. The team at Benchmark International’s Austin office was able to reach out to a multitude of buyers to find a deal that fit my needs. I would recommend using Benchmark International to anyone looking to sell their business.”

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Gregory Jackson Named CEO of the Year by Corporate Insider

Benchmark International’s Global CEO, Gregory Jackson, has been named the CEO of the Year by Corporate Insider for their 2018 M&A Awards. This marks the seventh award for Benchmark International this year and a second individual award for Mr. Jackson.

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Photos from the M&A Advisor Awards 2018

The M&A Advisor has named Benchmark International the winner of the North American Deal of the Year and the Financials Deal of the Year for their 10th Annual International M&A Awards. Here are some photos from the event:

FINANCIALS DEAL OF THE YEAR
Acquisition of Silexx Financial Systems by Chicago Board Options Exchange

The acquisition of Silexx Financial Systems by Chicago Board Options Exchange was chosen as the Financials Deal of the Year. Managing Director, Dara Shareef, steered this deal through to the end. He said what made this deal unique was the client’s acknowledgment that to get the best deal he possibly could, he knew he needed to use a mergers and acquisitions firm.

NORTH AMERICAN DEAL OF THE YEAR
Acquisition of Gasco Afilliates, LLC by Tech Air

The sale of Gasco Afilliates, LLC to Tech Air was chosen at the North American Deal of the Year. Managing Director, Tyrus O’Neill headed the team that closed this transaction. He said it took a lot of tenacity and determination to get the client the best possible value for the company. 

The Benchmark International Team at the M&A Advisor Awards 2018 in New York:

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Lightning Package Client Testimonial {video}

 

Benchmark International is delighted to announce the sale of Lightning Package to Bunzl.
Watch the client testimonial video here: https://vimeo.com/277326226

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I Need Capital to Grow My Business, Where do I Start?

It takes capital to start a business and it takes capital to grow a business. However, when you have exhausted your personal reserves, what are your options? There are a handful of ways additional capital can be gained to continue the growth of your business. Simply put, there are four categories that most types of capital fall into when you’re looking to grow your business: your own revenue, debt, public equity, and private equity options.

Your Own Revenue

Most start-ups begin from your own pocket. This might be a good way to get the ball rolling, and you can hit up friends and family for additional funds along the way as well. As long as your business grows at a steady pace, this might even be a reasonable ongoing source of capital as it encourages organic growth. This capital pool allows you to stay in control and if the business changes, you can make adjustments accordingly.

Using your own revenue to grow the business allows you to remain in control, but it may take longer to reach your growth objectives. Opportunities could potentially be lost because there is not enough available capital to take on new projects. Additionally, if you spend all your time and money concentrating on growth, you may never get to see the full value of your work because all your profits are going back into the business.

Debt

All businesses have some sort of debt whether from a bank loan, credit card loan, or mortgage for a business property. You just need to decide how you plan to use debt to help your business grow. Using debt allows you to grow your business without giving away any of your ownership in the business. Taking on debt for new equipment, for example, will increase your company productivity and allow you to pay down the loan quicker.

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The Drained Business Owner: How to Gain Your Start-Up Passion Back

Running a business is a romantic fantasy built on expectations of immediate gratification. People who venture on their own to start a new business are excited by the prospect of creating their own schedules and doing what they love. The hard work necessary; however, to build a business up and keep it running are often underestimated. Many business owners reach a point of burnout and lose their original passion. This is something that is hard to envision from the start because of the initial excitement.

As a business grows, the responsibilities of the owner often shift from doing what he set out to do: his passion, to doing behind-the-office tasks such as HR tasks, managerial tasks, dealing with legal issues, operational issues, etc. The more the business grows, the more the owner gets enveloped in these tasks. It can be disheartening to get separated from one’s passions, but how can one be reunited with the tasks he knows and loves?

If you feel you aren’t as close to your passions as you were before, there are some strategies you can implement into your business and your life to help you regain control of those passions and utilize them again.

 Take Some Regular Time for You

It is important to stay connected with yourself to maintain balance and obtain satisfaction in what you do. So, make time to do things you enjoy. Start a new hobby; start exercising regularly; watch a new movie; read a book. You need time for you and you need time to unwind and relax, so you can start each day with a fresh outlook. We have all heard the expression “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” It’s true. If you are not giving time to yourself and being mindful of your individual needs, you won’t perform your best in your business. Relaxation breeds innovation. A maxed-out body and mind cannot perform well. You will get burned out and your passion will dwindle.

 Set Boundaries, and Stick to Them

Work is just that: work. So, set specific time frames for work. This is related to needing time for yourself, but this is also related to having a set routine. Work stress can spill over into your life at home if you don’t set boundaries. Things run smoother when you separate your work life and your personal life. Consider not taking any work-related phone calls after a specific time, and decide a maximum number of hours you will dedicate to the business each weekend.

Be diligent in doing this and make it a priority. Odds are you won’t be any more useful to the business by forcing yourself to stay late and go on little-to-no sleep day in and day out. That will make you burnout even faster.

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