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Why family must come first in business

As we enter a new year, I want to talk about the importance of balance, perspective, support and productivity and I’m here to make the case that family must come first in business. Hear me out.

When we first started building, my business partner and I worked ourselves to the bone. It’s a familiar story for new business owners.

We worked incredibly long hours. We didn’t have much sleep. We spent every waking minute channelling ourselves into making the company work and grow.

Like many entrepreneurs, I knew on some level this wasn’t healthy.

But it wasn’t until a family came along that I realised how much I needed the support, balance, and perspective family can provide.

Your family is your most important support system

I hear a lot of people talk about their need to support their families. What most people don’t mention is that this is a two-way street.

I’m lucky enough to work with a business partner who complements my skills and shares my drive to make the business truly fantastic. Yet, I never really imagined before the kind of support system a family can be for you in business.

A family is a sharing of burdens and challenges, a sounding board for ideas, and a place where you talk things through. Whether that’s how things are going at school or what happened today in the office.

Even the simple act of sharing and talking is the kind of support many business owners would find difficult to get elsewhere.

Your health is precious – keep it safe

I’ve found that having a family to care for (and which cares for you) really opens your eyes to how important and precious your health is and how much we need to work to keep it safe.

It’s true for yourself, of course. You start to realise that you’re not doing anyone any good if you eat, sleep, and sweat work every second of every day.

But a family attitude is suitable for your relationships with your team too. Suppose you can provide the same kind of supportive culture for your employees that you would for your family. In that case, you encourage productivity, build a great team spirit, and create an environment where ideas and innovation are more likely to occur.

Plus, you create the kind of office that you actually want to come into every day.

Finding the right balance in life is important

Like many things in life, business is a balance. I’ve found that family can also be the thing that gives you the much-needed perspective that can help you find that balance.

Without family – or with a family that, in your mind, is a burden, something you work to support, not the other way round – you don’t have much of a rudder or anchor for your life.

Not only does a family give you the perspective you need to achieve a better balance in work and life, but I’ve also found that family actually helps you concentrate on the task at hand.

Perhaps because the different parts of your life have such variety now that you’re able to assess the situation with clearer eyes and proceed with greater focus.

If you have time for family, you’ll be more productive

A particular type of businessperson might think this is nonsense. And at one point in my life, I think I would have been impressed with “productivity hackers” who do things like hang hammocks in their office and try to fit twenty-minute naps into their day to maximise their productivity.

As someone who, at the time, was working almost every waking hour, any method that could get me to do more work would probably have seemed smart and desirable.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this. New business owners and entrepreneurs are notoriously crazed about maximising their productivity.

But there’s a definite limit in there. At some point, doing more work hours does not equal more work getting done. “Productivity maximising” activities are often more akin to sick punishment than intelligent practice.

Again, I’ve learned that, as a rule, people who have time for the family are more productive. It’s all about that balance, support, and perspective. People who have time for their family tend to have these vital qualities and know-how to get the most out of their time without a need from some crazy new hack.

Family first, always 

Family can provide the purpose and motivation that some people need to go into the office every day.

It can be a two-way street of support. A resource for your own health – and to remind you of how important it is to do your bit when it comes to creating a caring, healthy environment for everyone around you.

Your family can also provide you with a fresh perspective that can, in turn, lead to a better balance that can make you more productive than any on-trend productivity “hack”.

All in all, it’s clear. Far from being a burden and something you must support, your family gives you a whole lot of support. This is why I say that, in business, family must come first.

Rune Sovndahl

Rune Sovndahl, is the co-founder of – an international brand with 10+ years of experience that combines technological innovations with bespoke customer care to deliver services for the home, office and garden. Rune, who is Danish, moved to London 20 years ago to study for a BA (Hons) in Business Information Systems Design at South Bank University. Following completion of his degree, he was accepted onto a graduate programme with British Telecom. In 2003 he also established the European Young Professionals committee in London and was involved in its website’s creation as well as in the recruitment of more than 200 new members, also working for as Head of SEO before establishing Fantastic Service in 2009.

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