Pack your bags – this IS happening!
When was the last time you took a vacation? If your answer to that question has you picturing life before you owned a business, you’re not alone. Fact is, a large percentage of small business owners never take one. A 2014 study surveying 200 business owners revealed that nearly half said they were not planning on going away in the coming year.
Yet, nobody can deny the benefits of a vacation – time away not only gives you a chance to unwind and spend time with family and friends, it also gives your brain a break. And after a breather from the daily grind, you return with a renewed sense of vigor and purpose, which ultimately improves your business.
For many of us, it’s not about why you should take time off, it’s more about how. The reality is, a lot of business owners don’t feel it’s possible to get away without closing up shop completely. But if you plan ahead, there are ways for you to take a break without interrupting your business. Here are some tips that will help:
1. Plan it out way in advance
One of the biggest concerns for owners is being able to leave their employees to handle things when business is booming. So it makes sense that if you want to go away for a few days, plan your vacation during a slower period for your company. Even if your traffic is generally steady, it’s ideal to travel during the slowest season possible —so sit down with the calendar, choose the days, and commit to it. Making this commitment will help you follow through on your plans.
2. Prepare your team
Murphy’s Law reminds us that if anything can go wrong, it will. And for the small business owner, this means that the moment you leave town, something will wreak havoc. Instead of worrying, opt to prepare your team so that they know how to handle any issues that may come their way (without having to call you back from Tahiti).
They will be able to deal with most scenarios if they are prepared. Make a list, go over it with everyone on the team, and define what constitutes a true emergency – noting what they can and should handle on their own. Include phone numbers of your ISP, your maintenance service, and all of the paperwork for your business insurance policy so they can call your provider if needed.
3. Inform your clients and vendors, and clear the decks
A few weeks before you leave, reach out to your clients and let them know your plans. This not only shows them how much you value them, but also gives you the chance to tell them who will be in charge while you’re gone. It will also help alleviate any anxiety to know that your customers will be in good hands. You may also feel more comfortable by setting goals to finish any projects before you leave – having a somewhat “empty plate” allows you to kick back and relax, without deadlines looming over your head.
4. Bring in extra help
If your vacation is planned for December, consider hiring a part-time worker to start in October who will be fully trained by the time you leave town. Other business owners who have no employees may benefit from this interim employment option. Go over every aspect of your operation with the part-time helper and fill them in on your most important clients, plus those customers that may require a little extra attention.
5. Delegate and assign leadership roles
This one’s challenging for a lot of business owners – but if you’re going to be able to truly enjoy your time away, you have to cede control to someone you can trust. Whether you choose one person or a few members of your team to be leaders, delegating your tasks will ensure that everything necessary is getting done. And it will give your employees the opportunity to demonstrate their skills plus show that you trust them (who knows, this could become a yearly event!).
6. Let go
After you’ve planned it all out, put capable people in charge, and informed all your clients, it’s time to take a deep breath and just let go. Make a promise to yourself and your family (or whoever you’re traveling with) that you’ll truly disconnect. Try not to check emails more than once a day, if at all, and don’t call into the office. Remember that you’ve trained your team correctly. Make the most out of your time off so that you can come back refreshed after experiencing the full benefits of a vacation.
And before you head out of the door, make sure you have the appropriate business insurance to cover you in the event of an emergency, and that your employees have all the information available in case they need it. If you are in need of a policy, give us a call at 305-648-7070 or fill out our online quote request form today.