Why Downtime Makes You a Better Southeast Asian Entrepreneur

Doing nothing has its benefits

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BY Marishka M. Cabrera - 13 Mar 2017

better entrepreneur

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Start-up founders are known to work long hours and one always seems to find them juggling a myriad of tasks all at the same time. Needless to say, experiencing a bit of downtime can leave most of them anxious and, ironically, stressed.

Here are four reasons why Southeast Asian entrepreneurs should embrace their downtime and turn it to their competitive advantage:


1. Downtime helps you get creative

“Most of the time that I wasn’t doing anything or I was just chill, that is usually the moment that I think of creative ideas,” says Arvi Lopez, head of branding and public relations at ALTUS Digital Capital, a private equity firm that invests in start-ups in emerging markets.

He adds that it is during times that his mind is at ease that creativity can kick in. “Most of the time our brains are expected to produce solutions or analyze, especially during high priority cases, but during downtime, that is the time that pure creativity can kick in or in some points, we assess how we are moving ahead versus our objectives.”


2. Downtime makes you look at the big picture

It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of running a business, where decisions are made on the fly and tasks are being handled left and right. But in order to get an assessment on where the company is headed and how it plans to get there, entrepreneurs need to take a step back.

Author Ekaterina Walter writes in her Inc. piece, “Time to strategize and evaluate is invaluable and a lot of times it works best when you let yourself disconnect from the daily routine of running a business and stepping away to look at the longer-term plans and the creative approach you could take towards achieving your most critical goals.”

“Most of the time we are so busy fighting the small battles that we lose track of the war,” Lopez adds.


3. Downtime allows you to strategize

Lopez who has worked closely with start-up founders in his career says that having a bit of downtime allows the “strategic mindset to recalibrate and refocus.”

“Within the start-up scene, it’s not always about being the first. Most of the time, it’s about creating value with what we do and how we do things differently—and only during downtime period can most of us appreciate that,” he says.


4. Downtime gives you fresh ideas

Sometimes, downtime can be in the form of travel. PaidUp founder and CEO Asim Haneef says in this Inc. Southeast Asia story that he had his eureka moment while traveling.

“[PaidUp] was born from traveling across developing countries and seeing the patterns and problems across them—I could see that small and medium businesses everywhere were having difficulty getting access to credit, and that's where the concept of the app came from,” he says. PaidUp is a mobile app that lets small and medium businesses crowdfund working capital and investment from their customers.