Anyone who owns a small business knows that it takes a great deal of time, hard work, and money to remain successful. Your finances get so tied up and your time is so full of tasks to keep the business afloat that your personal needs get neglected. The all-work-and-no-play method works for a while, but eventually, it starts to weigh on you physically and mentally. Then, it’s only a matter of time before your business suffers as well.
Being fully aware of this some small business owners try to schedule a few days off here and there throughout the year. However, when they’re on “vacation” they find themselves still drawn to their work. They’re answering emails, taking phone calls, attending virtual meetings, and more instead of taking the much-needed time to relax, rejuvenate, and recharge.
Though it may seem as if getting away without having to worry about what’s going on in the office is impossible when you’re the boss, the truth is, it’s not. With a bit of advanced planning, you can take a real vacation as a small business owner. Below are some suggestions.
Pick a Date
The first step to going on vacation as an entrepreneur is to pick a date. Many people say they’re going to get away but never actually get to do it. When you set a date and begin making plans towards that day, chances are you’re going to take the break. Review your personal and professional schedule and select a weekend or week that’s free. Then, mark your calendars so that you do not plan anything personal or professional for that timeframe. If you have schedule management software, you should put your vacation time in there so that your team is aware not to book any meetings when you’re not available.
Talk With Your Right Hand
If you’re actually going to get to vacation it is important to have a right hand or second in command. This will be the person that takes responsibility for your day to day tasks and any emergencies that might come up while you’re away. Have a meeting with your chosen person to discuss what needs to be done, what should be done in an emergency, and provide guidelines for when they can contact you.
Finish Out Any Projects
Any work that can only be completed by you should be done before your trip. Go through your responsibilities and prioritize them in a list. The most important things should be the projects you work on in the weeks leading up to your vacation. Now, this may require you to have to work longer days before you leave, but it’s better to get things out of the way then have to try and work when you’re supposed to be enjoying your time off.
If you have more employees in your business you should hold a staff meeting to make everyone aware of your absence. During this meeting, you can answer any questions or concerns and then divide your list of tasks up amongst your staff. As you assign tasks, try to do so based on skill level and workload. You want to know that the job will be done effectively without burdening your team.
Change Voicemail and Email
Just before your trip, you want to inform all your clients and colleagues that you’re out of the office. This doesn’t mean posting it to social media for the world to see, but it does mean updating your voicemail and email. Create a voice message letting callers know that you’re out of the office, how long you’ll be gone, and who they can contact in the event of an emergency. The same can be done with your email with an automated reply message that lets senders know you’ll respond once you return and who to email if the message is urgent.
There is no way you’re going to enjoy yourself on vacation if your phone is constantly pinging and dinging with notifications from emails, social media, and other platforms. If you’re going to really benefit from this vacation, you have to unplug. Either leave your business phone and laptop at home or turn them off completely while you’re on vacation. If you can’t help yourself and absolutely have to check-in, then schedule 30 minutes each day you’re on vacation to check-in. Better yet, plan your vacation somewhere that feels more off the grid to help ease the temptation.
It’s true that you have to put a lot into your business in order to reach and remain successful. However, if you give so much that your mental and physical well-being are sacrificed, eventually, the thing you’ve worked so hard for will fail. Do yourself and your business a favor and schedule at least one long vacation a year. By using the advice provided above you can do so without having to worry at all.