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Start: Mark Evans

Take time out now to recharge Add to ...

For many entrepreneurs and small businesses, 2010 has been a challenging year. Although the economy has shown signs of a fragile recovery, the overall uncertainty has caused many companies to adopt a cautious and pragmatic approach to hiring.

This has meant that many companies are operating with little or no fat, even as sales start to climb. As a result, many people are working harder to get more things done.

Given the economic landscape, now is probably the perfect time to take a break in the action. With the holidays just around the corner and consumers looking to spend time with friends and family, as opposed to doing business, there is no better time to hit the pause button.

Giving yourself a chance to recharge is important because there are so few opportunities to take a mental and physical break. We live in a 7/24, always-on world in which it is difficult, if not impossible, to escape. When there is a window of opportunity for a respite, take it.

If last year was any indication, once people settle in after the holidays, there will be a flurry of activity as companies look to get 2011 off to roaring start. As much as things will quiet down over the holidays, they will pick up just as quickly once people get back to work.

If you haven't taken a break from business, it will be too late to do it until maybe the summer, which seems a long way off.

There are a few options when it comes to the holidays. You can close down completely between Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, particularly if you're not in the retail, entertainment or restaurant sectors.

If closing down isn't an option, you could consider shortening your business hours by coming in later and closing early.

Another approach is to avoid any meetings or sales calls during the holidays. Since many people are not engaged during the holidays, it doesn't make a lot of sense to try to get business done.

Regardless of what option you choose, don't pass up the opportunity to enjoy the holidays. It will do you and your employees a lot of good.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Mark Evans is a principal with ME Consulting , a content and social media strategic and tactical consultancy that creates and delivers 'stories' for companies looking to capture the attention of customers, bloggers, the media, business partners, employees and investors. Mark has worked with three start-ups - Blanketware, b5Media and PlanetEye - so he understands how they operate and what they need to do to be successful. He was a technology reporter for more than a decade with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. Mark is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh, meshUniversity and meshmarketing conferences.

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