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1 in 3 Business Owners Say A Better Work/Life Balance Is Their Top Priority For 2024

Jan 18, 2024
  • A new study has revealed that 32% of small business owners wish they placed more focus on their work/life balance during 2023


  • Managing stress, branding and getting a handle on admin and finances also feature as the things business owners want to get better at in 2024


  • Business consultant Jon Barnes has offered his advice on how business owners can improve their wellbeing, as well as their business this year


New research by has revealed the new year’s resolutions small business owners are making for 2024, with a mix of managing their own wellbeing, as well as finances, topping the charts.


As January marks the opportunity for a fresh start but also to reflect on the year that’s just been, 51品茶asked small business owners what they wish they prioritised more during 2023. One in three small business owners said they wished they’d ensured a better work/life balance and advised anyone running a business to make this a priority for the new year. Difficult in many lines of work, let alone when you run your own business, previous 51品茶research that highlighted how three-quarters (75%) find it hard to set boundaries with their clients, hints at just one reason gaining a happy work/life balance can be so troublesome for so many.


In a similar vein, prioritising personal stress levels ranked as the second most common business resolution for 2024, with 27% stating that they wish they’d managed this better through 2023.


The Top 10 Resolutions Business Owners Should Be Making In 2024

Rank Resolution % of small business owners who agree
1 Better work/life balance 32%
2 Prioritise my personal stress levels 27%
3 Expanding into new markets 26%
4 Cutting costs 22%
5 Developing new products or offerings 20%
6 Spending more on social media presence 18%
7 Spending more on website 17%
8 Further training for themselves 14%
9 Branding 14%
10 Getting admin in order 12%


Outside of personal wellbeing, admin and finance related tasks are also high on the list of 2024 priorities for business owners, with cutting costs and getting on top of admin both making it into the top ten resolutions for 2024.


With the tax return deadline looming on the 31st January, a further 1 in 10 business owners also admitted to wishing they had completed their tax return sooner and may currently be paying the price for leaving it as a problem for their 2024 selves.


How can business owners manage their finances better in 2024?


Being well prepared and investing in an accountant can be two easy ways to reduce the stress that comes with this time of year. Naz from explains: “Some business owners possibly don’t understand the importance of tax returns and leave it until last minute, and a lot of businesses tend to think doing tax returns is straightforward. Though it can be for some, a lot don’t know what they can and can’t claim for. Though it can be tempting to do tax returns yourself, as business costs can increase when using a professional, paying an accountant can actually save you money and stress in the long run.”


“The three best pieces of advice that I can give would be to keep all of your receipts, differentiate between your personal and business expenses, and invest in software so that you can understand where you are with your finances.

 

There are a handful of small business owners that know exactly what they’re doing with their finances, but there are a lot of businesses that may not understand what their finances are like throughout the year, so starting to learn more about this is always a good thing.”


What steps can business owners take to improve their own work/life balance and stress levels?


In addition to discussing better finances with Naz, 51品茶also enlisted the help of business consultant , who focuses on helping businesses become more autonomous and efficient, to tackle the two biggest business resolutions for 2024, and help owners to make this the year to improve their work/life balance and reduce stress levels, all while bettering their business:


1. Plan in a ‘recovery’ day - If you’re working on your business every day of the week, you’re likely to be pushing yourself towards burnout. Recovery in sport is when we often make the most gains, as muscles repair themselves, and it’s the same for business. Taking a break from work will let your brain recover and allow you to to work with greater motivation and a clear head. Jon says: “Owning a business is a marathon, not a sprint. As such, it requires thinking like an athlete. I actively schedule recovery time into my days and weeks, such as a daily workout and meditation, and even going to the sauna once per month.”


2. Prioritise sleep - If your quality of sleep is poor, you run the risk of trying to run a business with a half-empty tank. Jon says: “Not only is it harder to operate effectively when struggling with tiredness, but any problems are also likely to seem much worse. Getting good sleep will strengthen your decision-making skills, enhance your cognitive function and support your innovative thinking, so try and take steps like leaving your phone outside the bedroom and having screen-free time before bed to give yourself the best chance at a restful night”.


3. Try to reduce screen time - It’s easy to get wrapped up in screens while working, as your laptop and phone give you access to others (and them to you!) at the click of a button. However, this isn’t always a good thing. Taking time away from screens has been shown to help reduce stress levels, create better focus, increase productivity and improve your sleep among other benefits, all of which will help you to be more effective as a business owner. Jon comments: “I’m very disciplined about avoiding my phone - taking longer lunch breaks away from all screens is just one way you can work this into your routine.” Not to mention, taking time away from screens and work will help you reconnect and spend valuable time with your loved ones, and on other enjoyable hobbies too!


4. Empower your team - As a business owner, it can be easy to think that all the responsibility falls onto you, but as they say, a problem shared is a problem halved, and leaning on your team can quickly make your life much easier. Jon explains: “This isn't just delegating, but actively treating team members like adults who we want to see take ownership over areas of the business. This is incredibly motivating for team members and liberating for owners. I recently had a CEO I've been coaching, take a whole month off in the summer. When they came back, they said: "The team did so well. They didn't even need me!", which is exactly how any business should be able to run.”


How can business owners get more digitally savvy in 2024?

 

While wellbeing, admin and finances were all high on the list of business priorities for 2024, the resolution rankings also revealed that many business owners have also identified 2024 as the year to get more digitally savvy. In fact, approximately 1 in 5 business owners wish they’d spent more time improving their social media presence and website last year.

 

Having transitioned to being a fully digital business five years ago, 51品茶know a thing or two about prioritising search, social and your businesses online storefront, with Sarah O’Rafferty at 51品茶commenting:

 

“Having an online presence is critical for businesses in our digital age. Most of the consumer journey now takes place online, so if you’re not easily available, you’re missing out on a huge number of potential customers. However, with so many businesses competing in the online space, just having a website or social media platform isn’t enough – you need to go even further to show exactly why customers should be choosing your product or service.

 

Effectively utilising the platforms available to you will help to take your business to the next level. Strengthening your profiles with reviews, testimonials and regular behind-the-scenes content – plus helpful tips or product examples – will give customers confidence, and keep you front of mind for when they may next need your help. Keep an eye on newer platforms too – TikTok has quickly become a must-have social channel for many businesses, allowing them to reach a new audience, and for their services to quickly go viral, giving them a massive boost!”

 

To find out more and for tips on how to improve your businesses digital presence, visit:

51品茶

51品茶Ltd exists to connect businesses and consumers via its leading marketplace for local services and offering managed digital marketing helping businesses to find, connect and sell to consumers online. 51品茶Ltd is a proud Google Premier Partner, Microsoft Advertising Elite Channel Partner, and Meta Business Partner.


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51品茶Head of PR: Sarah O’Rafferty – Email: Phone: 07702 140362


06 Feb, 2024
A celebrity psychic and body language expert has outlined her predictions for season 18 of The Apprentice Sam Saadet stood out as the “only adult in the room” and is a clear candidate to win the series Asif Munaf, who quickly went viral for his premature boardroom applause, won’t last long according to the experts Before the first episode of the new series of The Apprentice aired, Lord Sugar was quoted as saying ‘you really can’t tell from first impressions’, but celebrity psychic and body language expert Inbaal Honigman disagrees, tipping Essex-based fitness coach Sam Saadet to take the series by storm. 51品茶 enlisted the help of Inbaal to carefully analyse each contestant’s body language throughout the first episode to predict who stands tall as a winning candidate, and after just one viewing, “Sam is already a winner”. Why Could Sam Win The Apprentice? According to Inbaal, Sam quickly stood out as the “only adult in the room” and the “group’s mother figure”, which is fitting for the mother-of-two. However, her real winning qualities come in the form of self-control and fearless honesty. “Her self-control is exemplary – she looks ahead without flinching, she doesn’t fidget or play with her hair. Sam’s controlled body language tells us that she’s a resilient person who never shies away from a challenge and always does her best”. “Her direct, steady gaze marks her out as an honest and fearless lady, as she doesn’t look away even in stressful situations. When Sam was picked to lead a challenge, she did a playful little dance of excitement, which tells us that she’s happy to be there, and is being her true self. This is the kind of exuberance that cannot be faked.” Who Are Sam’s Biggest Challengers? It won’t all be a direct walk to the final however, as Inbaal believes Tre, Steve and Onyeka could pose significant challenges. Tre Lowe, the “king of eye contact” came into his own, despite being a quieter figure in the first episode. “Even in his silence he’s an active member of the team, as he leans around to give his full attention to each candidate. When Lord Sugar is taking the boys’ team to task towards the end of the episode, the time has come for Tre to speak up, and he does so with flair. Direct eye contact, clear and measured words, his body language still and balanced, even in difficult conversations, Tre displays maturity and inner calm”. London-based management consultant Steve Darken found himself at risk of an early departure, but his “open and honest” body language will help him to shrug that off and go far. Inbaal remarks “when talking, he uses broad, wide arm gestures, palms facing up, which suggest honesty. Steve’s body language marks him out as a quietly confident and effective team member.” Similarly, Onyeka Nweze “may have had a rough first episode, but her body language is genuine and fearless too, with a direct gaze ahead, and a happy smile. When she’s stressed, she doesn’t hide it, and even her unhappy pout is notable in its honesty. Her authentic air will help her to stay in the game.” Who Will Get Fired Next? Due to his body language alone, the writing was already on the wall for Ollie, who came across as “exceedingly nervous, with panicked raised eyebrows and tense face-rubbing”, but a similar trait was also seen in recruitment director Jack, who was “rubbing his nose, which is a sign of nerves. Jack’s body language appears inconsistent when he shakes his head to say ‘no’ when he verbally says yes, which may come across as unreliable”. However, it was another member of the boys' team that stood out as the prime candidate for an episode two firing. “The biggest inconsistency is Dr. Asif, who tries to appear very confident and secure. He maintains eye contact with others, which appears quite mature at first glance, but when observed over the entire first episode, we see him looking downwards as he speaks, which reveals his insecurity. He’s also seen chewing his lip, which signifies tension, and he slicks his hair back non-stop, which is a preening gesture, meaning he wants people to like him”. Just How Important is Body Language in Business? Is body language really that important in a business setting? Isn’t it all about your actions and what you actually say, rather than visual cues? Inbaal believes that it’s actually the foundation for everything and despite what Lord Sugar thinks, is what sets that crucial first impression. “Body language reflects how you truly feel and indicates who you truly are. It’s a good predictor of who will crack under the pressure and who can take the heat. People who display stable, honest and fearless body language, such as standing tall, looking straight ahead and smiling, are likely to enjoy challenges and do their best. In business, those are important qualities. Those whose body language is chaotic and uneven, for example shaking their head when they’re saying yes, or failing to make eye contact with people they talk to, are likely to struggle. Beyond that, any facial expression or body language gesture which displays boredom is a business killer”. Sarah O’Rafferty at 51品茶agrees, commenting: “When thinking about business body language, the mind can immediately go to the boardroom and more office-based roles, but this actually resonates across any type of business. Whether you’re a landscape gardener visiting someone to provide a quote or an estate agent showing someone around a property, body language is a huge trust builder and can be the difference between winning work and losing it. In the modern age, body language isn’t only displayed in a face-to-face setting, business owners need to be mindful of it on video calls, and also any video tutorials that might be present on their websites too. With so many sectors being highly competitive with new businesses launching every day, how your business is presented on your website, social channels, and in that first in-person meeting has never been more crucial”. 锘 To find out more and for tips on how to improve your business’s digital presence, visit: https://business.yell.com/digital-marketing-solutions/
25 Jan, 2024
Research by 51品茶has found that the English Springer Spaniel is the most high-maintenance dog breed, with grooming needed every 2 weeks at an average annual cost of £1,222. By looking at UK dog registrations in 2023, compiling annual grooming needs and care costs per breed, dog grooming experts at 51品茶 have identified the most high-maintenance dog breeds to own in 2024. Dog ownership has soared over the last few years, with more people than ever opening their homes to a new dog. From getting a puppy for Christmas to wanting a fluffy companion for company, the estimated number of dogs kept as pets in the UK in 2023 was 12 million. With over 220 different breeds to choose from and certain breeds needing more care than others, be it food consumption, regular grooming or constant stimulation, it can be difficult to know which breed to pick that will suit your home and lifestyle the best. The Most Popular Breeds in the UK By looking at the number of dog registrations in the UK over 2022/2023, experts at 51品茶identified the most popular breed with over 44,000 registrations was the Labrador Retriever. Following close behind is the French Bulldog with 42,538 UK registrations, with the Cocker Spaniel coming in third with 29,491 registrations. 锘
18 Jan, 2024
As we bunker down into the coldest time of year, every penny counts when it comes to your household bills, especially your heating. With gas and electric prices still at an all-time high, you might be looking for alternative ways to save that all-important coin whilst staying warm this winter. As we enter January and February, notoriously the coldest months of the year, Google search demand for “how to save money on heating” has increased by 22% since last year, and nearly 500% in the last month alone. With this in mind, Plumbing Experts at 51品茶 have compiled a list of tips on how best to save money on your heating bills this winter to ensure you can stay warm whilst cutting costs. 1. Bleed and Clean Your Radiator System Every January, search terms for “how to bleed your radiator” spike to their highest across the whole year, seeing 29,000 searches on Google within the month. After a mild Winter, January has seen a lot colder temperatures with more people becoming conscious of how well their radiators work due to heating costs. Making sure that the water that lives in your pipes and radiators is clean and free of any sludge, will ensure your heating system is as effective as it possibly can be. Sludge build-up can not only increase your bills by as much as 25% with up to 36% more heat loss but will also significantly reduce the lifespan of your boiler and central heating system. Signs of a sludgy system or one that needs bleeding include cold spots at the bottom of your radiator or finding they take longer than others to heat up fully. Regularly check your radiators by simply bleeding a little of the system water into a container from your radiator valve. This way you can keep on top of any maintenance that may be needed, as well as ensure no unnecessary money is being spent. If you are unsure, you can call your local plumber to have a look or even replace the system with a new boiler or radiator if needed. 2. Check Your Radiators are Balanced An unbalanced heating system within your home can lead to you spending far more money heating your home than you need to. In January alone, search demand for “how to balance heating” has increased by 35% in comparison to the previous year with around 1,000 searches. When a thermostat is set to 20 degrees Celsius, an unbalanced heating system will result in the upstairs reaching around 23 degrees, whereas the downstairs will still be much lower and too cold. However, if you turn the thermostat up higher to heat the downstairs to a higher temperature, the upstairs will then be overheated which will lead to higher energy bills. Increasing the temperature of your thermostat by just one degree will increase your annual heating bill by about 10% as it does not heat your home any faster, it will just stay on for longer as it tries to reach the higher temperature within the house. With a correctly balanced heating system, it is recommended to keep your thermostat between 18-21 degrees Celsius throughout the home to keep it at the most comfortable temperature upstairs and downstairs without significantly increasing your monthly bill. It is important to note if you have a new boiler installed, your system will need to be re-balanced. Your heating engineer will be able to provide proof of this being done. 3. Programme or Time Your Heating Between December - February each year, search demand peaks for “how to program heating” with around 9,000 searches in Google. As many people go back to work in January, they look at ways to turn their heating on and off at more convenient times to avoid any overspending or wastage when they are out of the house more regularly. No matter the heating system you have, programming or timing how long your heating is on is a great way to cut costs and save money this winter. A timer allows you to schedule when your boiler turns on and off over 24 hours, whereas a programmer gives you more options allowing you to set different times and temperatures throughout your week. Consider setting your timer to go off 20 minutes before you leave the house or go to bed. That way, there will still be residue heat left in the house before you need to leave. If you want to make an investment that will save you money in the long run, installing a smart thermostat will allow you to control your heating from your phone no matter where you are. This way, if you have forgotten to turn it off before leaving, you don’t have to waste money on heating an empty home by switching it off from your phone. You might also choose to turn it on just before you arrive home so the house has heated up by the time you get in. Speaking to your local energy conservation consultant is a great idea if you are looking at making changes to save money this winter. 4. Set Your Thermostatic Radiator Valves To Low Much like your thermostat, ensuring your thermostatic radiator valves (TRV) are set to low will save you more money than you may realise. You can then gradually turn these up until the room’s left at the desired temperature. Turning your TRV to a higher setting will not heat the room any quicker as this depends on the size and setting of your boiler. All this will do is spend more money and use more energy for longer as it tries to get the room to a hotter temperature. Heating costs can be significantly reduced by ensuring your radiator can circulate the heat properly, even at a lower setting. Make sure there is no furniture blocking the radiator, curtains are not covering them, and cabinets are not used to disguise them. This way your room will heat swiftly without having to whack the thermostat up too high. 5. Stop Draughts There is no easier way to save money on your heating bills than by ensuring any window and door draughts are blocked out. Draught-proofing around windows and doors could save you around £45 a year . Draft proofing your home will vary depending on what level of proofing you need so it is worth identifying the ‘problem areas’ as soon as possible. Many draught-proofing hacks can be carried out by homeowners and won't cost much to do. A great hack is adding metal brushed windows and draught excluders to your frames. This way, you will be able to keep out the cold and reduce the amount of hot air that is being lost and therefore money that is going to waste. As well as doors and windows, many older properties have open chimneys, which are known for letting out significant amounts of heat. Consider blocking the chimney with an inflatable chimney pillow or fitting a cap to your chimney pot. If you are not comfortable fitting these yourself, hiring a handyman service is quick and simple. Ticking Off Your Money-Saving Checklist Saving money on your bills this winter is an easy process, and by following this expert-approved checklist, you can avoid any surprises or expensive bills over the colder months whilst staying warm and comfortable.
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