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More than half (53%) of Brits believe that the school holiday system should be restructured in order to benefit budding entrepreneurs and home businesses", according to virtual receptionist service ava.

Many small business owners have bemoaned the lack of consistency in the term times set by schools throughout England and Wales, with the problem coming to a head during the recent Easter break, when certain schools in the same towns and cities staggered their holidays. It left many parents with children at different schools facing childcare chaos.

Ava found that 62% of women surveyed are in favour of reforming the school holidays system, with 45% of men agreeing. The 25-34 year olds were the most likely (59%) to support the idea, perhaps unsurprising, given that this group is most likely to have children in school or planning to start a family.

Lucie Greenwood, sales manager at ava, said the unpredictable scheduling of school holidays is causing unncessary difficulties for the owners of start-ups businesses.

She said: "It's impossible for the education system to accommodate the needs of all entrepreneurs, but the lack of consistency in the way holidays are scheduled from school to school across the country is clearly putting many start-ups on the back foot.

"As you can see from the preliminary term dates outlined by the EU, there are many regional variations across England and Wales. The biggest problems occur when schools within the same area introduce different holiday periods - something that we saw happening in certain parts of the UK this Easter."

Image: Max Klingensmith Image: Max Klingensmith

Research conducted by Direct Line for Business in 2015 showed that 60% of 844,000 home-based entrepreneurs who have children have to essentially close the business to some extent during the school holidays. That results in four lost hours of productivity every day and the study estimated that last year's summer holidays cost home businesses around £658 million collectively.

Piers Chead, CEO and founder of The Formations Company, said greater clarity on school holidays would make it easier for parent business owners to plan ahead.

He said: "Aside from bank holidays, there is no 'set time' of certain school holidays, [which can make] childcare a nightmare. Consistency is key. With consistent holidays, working parents can schedule their business calendar at the start of the year with confidence that they can achieve their business goals.

"Perhaps splitting holidays more evenly across the year could benefit parents, allowing them to tailor their schedules around the children's time off, rather than forcing them to take an extended amount of time off from work."

With the summer holidays creeping closer, ava offered some handy tips to help business owners to negotiate this difficult period.

1 - Don't be afraid to ask for help

Whether it's answering calls from customers or taking care of the accounts, home-based entrepreneurs shouldn't take too much on themselves during the summer holidays. There is nothing wrong with asking for a bit of help, whether it's from a friend or a professional company.

2 - Keep it professional

Make sure your children are aware that certain areas of the house are out of bounds. Maintaining a clear divide between your home and business life is key.

3 - Make every minute count

If the school holidays are causing you to lose four hours a day, you need to make sure you time is used wisely. Cut out unnecessary admin and save it for a week when you have more time to play with.

4 - Build a network

Sometimes you can feel like the only person who is trying to launch a successful business while raising a family at the same time. You're not! Network with other home business owners; learn from them where possible and try to help each other out.

5 - Always have a plan B and C

Even during term times, there will be days when your children have to unexpectedly come home from school, for whatever reason. Have a plan B and plan C in place to ensure your business can continue to operate as normal.