Experts Weigh In: How I Keep My Business From Burning Out

How I Keep My Business From Burning OutSummer is finally here, and for small business owners everywhere this is the time to relax and take a breather from last winter’s busy season, keeping up with resolutions from New Year’s, and filing taxes in the spring. But for some entrepreneurs, stopping to take a breather can easily mean just stopping… period. Before you burn out on your start-up, let our panel of 23 professionals fill you in on what you can start doing this summer to pump up your business and have a lot of fun, while beating the summer heat!

1) “We are based in gorgeous Santa Monica, CA, and are a walk away from the beach which means some of the most stunning work breaks you can think of. Given that this summer is the World Cup and we are a very diverse company, we encourage everyone to wear their country’s jerseys and will be showing major games in our movie room. We will also be sponsoring different meals based on the soccer teams playing that day! Every Friday during the summer, we break out the cocktails or head out to our local winery (bodega wine bar) to talk about the week over some yummy drinks for happy hour. For bonding, we have a monthly poker tournament which works well especially since we are growing and adding new faces often. It gives our team a great opportunity to bond with new members over a game of all in or fold.”

- David Daneshgar, Co-Founder, BloomNation

2) “We’re taking advantage of our green rebranding efforts to keep everyone psyched about coming into the office. Aside from bagel Fridays and get-to-know-your vendor meetings, Shoplet is instating an office-wide Share competition, whereby we motivate employees with fun, summer-friendly prizes to participate in our latest social media campaign Care. Share. Grow. (For each Share of a social media graphic, Shoplet plants a tree with Trees for the Future). The latest winner of our Share competition won tickets to a Yankees versus Red Sox game this September! In a way, the competitive spirit around the office unites us. It generates chatter and revs up excitement for our green initiatives.”

- Tony Ellison, CEO & Founder, Shoplet

3) “One way I plan ahead for the summer is by offering my employees a finder’s fee for each employee they refer. My argument is that there are no better headhunters than those who already work for you, especially because they are entrenched in the fast-paced environment every day and understand your business’ nuances, thus know whether the person they are referring can handle the pressure. After any prospective candidate is hired and works successfully for two months, I offer the finder employee a cash incentive of $50. It’s a tactic I’ve used for years and found that it’s been incredibly successful at combating summer turnover.”

- Dan Sacco, Owner, Pancheros Mexican Grill

4) “Running a business is a lot like surfing in so far as a temporary summer slowdown is merely an opportunity to build up energy for the eventual next wave. During the slow summer season, we like to focus our attention on launching new marketing initiatives that we will want to execute on after the slow season is over. This is the period to coordinate that direct mail piece, with the email blast and re-work that copy on the newsletter. Even when things seem to be at their slowest, there is always work that still needs to be done.”

-  David Reischer, Esq., Legal Marketing Pages, Corp.

5) “We have a rotating flexible Friday schedule. Half the office gets one Friday off and the other half gets the next one off. Enjoying a long weekend every other week makes all the difference for our team members – especially in the summer when it’s so easy for employees to lose motivation. Just one extra day makes short trips and vacations that much more doable – when these much needed breaks would otherwise be restricted to the standard two weeks of vacation that most companies offer. As a result, our team members have more energy, feel more refreshed and are much more motivated and productive on regular work days.”

- Liz Jackson, Agency Fusion

6) “Our office instituted Summer Hours which takes place from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and on Fridays our staff is able to leave at 1 PM. We begin the week with a staff meeting sharing items that need to be accomplished so we can all plan proactively and take advantage of this perk. It allows staff to enjoy the afternoon, spend time with family, leave for the weekend, hang out with friends, and enjoy a long relaxing lunch. We have found that it is something to look forward to and they are excited, and work hard during the week so they can leave by 1 PM. Not only do they love it, but so do I!”

- Gisela Girard, President / COO, Creative Civilization

7) “We have a FUN Day every two months. Last month, we went to a local indoor sports facility and did some awesome rock climbing. This month, we got T-shirts and are going to take a 2 hour break from our busy day and do Go-Karting at a local track. Once a month, we have separate team meetings that are held at various local restaurants. This is good to cover topics in a casual environment. Twice a year, we have one-on-one meetings between a manager and each team member at a restaurant, just to discuss ideas and what we call the Wow Factor. We’re also looking at getting a food truck to come to our office for a few Fridays over the summer too!”

- Matt Boaman, SEO Engineer/Programmer, EZSolution

8) “One way a business can prevent employees from burning out over the summer is to offer unlimited vacations. If your team members know they can take an extra week off, they’ll be sure to continue performing at a high level. Just make sure you have a request system in place so vacations don’t affect
business operations. If that’s not doable, consider allowing them to work from home for a portion of the work week. That’s another great way to keep staff motivated.”

- Andrew Schrage, Founder and CEO, MoneyCrashers

9) “We’re a small tech startup and we operate 100% remotely. This allows our team to work from anywhere which during the summer months can include working pool side, at the beach, or any vacation spot. We give our employees the freedom to work when they want and take time to themselves when they need to. This keeps everyone fresh, motivated, and productive to complete the tasks we require necessary to continue growing our awesome company. There is nothing worse than feeling burnt out and we’ve found the happy medium to avoid those situations.”

- Sean Heilweil, Co-Founder & CEO, ReferralPop

10) “For the summer we decided to create a fun manager. Each week a different person in the office has to find a cool activity in which everybody can participate in. For example, last week we organized a big viewing of the World Cup match in the office with everybody bringing in something representative from one of the country’s competing.”

- Favre Alexandre, Head of Press, Nestpick

11) “Our marketing department is running a summer fun campaign that includes both fun activities and fundraisers for causes our company supports. So far, we’ve had a “most creative summer selfie” contest, are playing office bingo and will be scheduling activities every couple of weeks until we wrap the campaign with a family picnic at the end of the summer. We work hard and play hard too!”

-   Leslie Lavery, Marketing Communications Coordinator, Cuhaci & Peterson

12) “Our offices will be taking a trip to Hershey Park with our families and friends. We also take trips every so often (especially on hot days or for office celebrations) to the home of our CEO and CFO, Rich and Beth Kahn, to go swimming or have a BBQ.”

- Megan Ingenbrandt, PR Specialist, eZanga.com

13) “In mid-July our New York office is shutting down on Friday and we are renting a bus to bring everyone to Burlington, Vermont for beer fest. We annually do a retreat for the office in Vermont but this is the first year we got tickets for everyone to enjoy some fine craft beer and BBQ. Should be a lot of fun with hopefully good memories for the office and team building for when we return!”

- Matthew Reischer, CEO, LegalAdvice.com

14) “Being directly involved in crowdfunding’s hottest sector has made it even harder for our office to beat the summer heat. Our office partakes in a few networking events every week where we love interacting with potential investors. While the networking events are fun our office always looks to give back and this past Wednesday June 18th we attended the 2014 Champions for Humanity Latin dance party fundraiser where the money raised was donated to Hermandad an organization which serves the poorest of the poor in the Dominican Republic.”

- Allen Shayanfekr, Co-Founder, Sharestates

15) “Basketball hoops and football helmets! As a sports network, we have a great time at work.”

- Brian Selander, Executive Vice President (Offensive Coordinator), The Whistle

16) “This summer, The Expert Institute plans on taking a trip to Amagansett, Long Island, for a company camping trip on the beach! As a small start-up company it’s important to have a tight knit group of employees, so we make a real effort to encourage socializing both during work – with the occasional company lunch outing to Stone Street in lower Manhattan – as well as outside of work.”

- Joe O’Neill, Marketing Communications Manager, The Expert Institute

17) “This summer, the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is once again forming the Lighthouse Lizards team to paddle in the Kenosha Area Dragon Boat Festival on July 19. Joining our staff will be our restaurant, attraction, hotel, and other partners from the community. The Lighthouse Lizards also participated in the festival last summer, and while we may not have been named a winner we had an adventurous, exhilarating, and unforgettable afternoon on Lake Andrea!”

- Meridith Jumisko, Public Relations Manager at the Kenosha Area Convention &
Visitors Bureau

18) “This summer, we’re doing several fun things. My favorite activity so far has been a gardening demonstration that took place a few weeks ago; we planted herbs as a company and now take care of them/can take them home as wanted or needed. It actually inspired me to start my own garden at home! We’re also creating teams of employees to volunteer for many of the events and festivals around Columbus this summer, including Digfest and Tour de Grandview. Lastly, we’ll have a company outing to the Columbus Zoo in August.”

- Janeesa Hollingshead, Digital Brand Manager, 2Checkout

19) “At GameTruck we are very lucky because we get to play. On Summer Fridays we have a smack down with a variety of video games in our lobby/living room at the company headquarters. This week we are looking forward to some righteous Mario Kart on the Wii U.”

- Scott Novis, CEO & Founder, GameTruck Licensing LLC

20) “We are doing a LOT to keep things exciting for our staff this summer! We just celebrated reaching a half-billion in assets with a big staff party at Dave and Busters. We also let our staff wear their Spurs gear every time there was a Spurs playoff game (and then on Wednesday for the NBA Championship Parade)! We are also going to be celebrating our 74th anniversary in July by sending an ice cream truck around to all our branches. Staff will get to pick and choose their ice cream (and beat the heat!).”

- Ashley M. Harris, VP, Corporate Communications, Generations Federal Credit Union

21) “Last Friday and this Friday were World Cup Fridays and we worked with games on, ordered lunch and really bonded as a company!”

- Aron Susman, Co-Founder, TheSquareFoot

22) “When we think of agencies, we think of long work days (and nights), burnouts, deadlines, etc. While we have those same issues, we’ve found a way to boost our productivity while shortening up our work week. As part of our Perks + Benefits, we’ve established a 4 day work week model and two hour lunch breaks. Our team works Mondays and Tuesdays, takes Wednesdays off, and then works Thursdays and Fridays. This means they never work more than two days straight.

In addition to Wednesdays, they have the option to take up to two-hour lunch breaks in the middle of the day. Everyone is required to work 8 hours a day and then take either a one-hour or two-hour lunch break. Those that come in at 8AM can leave at 5PM or take a two-hour lunch break and leave at 6PM. Those that come in at 9AM – leave at either 6PM or 7PM (depends on their lunch break).

We’re a team of 8 young people and we’re on a mission to solve the work-life balance crisis. Everyone has more time to enjoy the summertime and handle their personal responsibilities.”

- Jacques Bastien, CEO, Boogie

23) “I’m a big soccer fan so every time a World Cup comes around I promise my team three minutes off work for every goal scored. In 2010 there were 145 goals so they each got seven hours 25 minutes off, which they could choose to take all at once, or split between up to three occasions. This incentive really brought a sense of excitement to the office over the tournament and meant that every goal – regardless of which country scored it – was something to be celebrated. Now the bets are on as to if they’re going to score more or less time off this year!”

- Darren Leigh, Managing Director, Leighmans.com

Let’s help you get this start-up party started! MyCorporation is here to help you get your business up and running. Leave a comment below, or give us a call at 1-877-692-6772!

About Deborah Sweeney

is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best.

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