How to Take a Vacation From Your Small Business

One of the most difficult aspects of running a small business is finding the time to take off from your work. Even when you manage yourself a vacation, you may find yourself constantly checking emails and smartphone notifications.

If you want your business to be as successful as you dream, it’s vital you practice self-care. And one way to do this is by taking some time off, relaxing, and simply enjoying the moment.

Of course, as a small business owner myself, I know this is extremely difficult - maybe even impossible. Even while we’re trying to relax, it’s hard not to want to check in on things and make sure everything’s running smoothly.

So, the purpose of this blog isn’t so much about taking a vacation from your small business. Rather, it’s about how to prepare for a vacation and minimize work while you’re there.

PLAN FAR AHEAD OF TIME

Essentially, in order to be most at ease while you’re vacationing, you’ll need to want to prepare your business for your time off. This can work in a number of different ways, especially when considering the type of business you own.

A few examples include:

  • Preparing your customers and employees for your absence

  • If you have individual clients, personally alert them of your schedule

  • Give yourself time after the vacation to catch up on missed work

  • Avoid “live” scheduling while you’re away (i.e. a new website or major website redesign)

  • Have a business emergency contact list at your disposal

There are a number of other little things you can do. For instance, it may be better to carry paper copies of important pieces of information (i.e. your boarding pass, hotel reservations, etc.). This will not only help limit your amount of screen time but it’ll also be quicker and more convenient if you do need screen time for business necessities.

But when it comes to preparation, the most vital action you can take is training your employees for your absence.

It’s important to remember that you are the one who is responsible for urgent demands. These can include anything from the internet breaking down to a water leakage. Whatever the case may be, you’re the one who steps up to the plate and makes sure things carry out in order.

When you’re away, a bit of that order is missing. The funny thing is, things will always seem to go wrong when you’re not there. And, more often than not, your employees are going to have no idea how to handle these situations.

MAKE A LIST

So, one of the best steps you can take to resume order while you’re away is creating a list of things your employees can do when you’re gone. These can include:

  • What to do if a computer isn’t working and who to contact.

  • What to do if the internet connection goes out (make sure to include where the router and cable modem are), what to look out for, how to reset these properties, and who to contact.

  • What to do if the company’s website goes down, how to check to make sure it actually is down (and not just the office internet connection), and who to contact.

  • Who to contact when it comes to building maintenance.

You’ll want to assign these responsibilities to one employee - the person who will take charge when you’re away. However, it’s just as important to let everyone know of this list. Two ways to do so are by 1.) having a meeting that discusses the list and 2.) putting it in a place where everyone can see it.

To take it all a step further, you may even want to contact outside resources and introduce them to your employees. If everyone knows each other and has their contact information, solving a problem in your absence can go much smoother.

Finally, it may help to also make a list of things that you would like to be notified about in your absence. These should include big emergencies and extremely important matters. However, some business owners also enjoy receiving one email at the end of the day that briefly sums up how everything went.

GIVE YOURSELF VACATION RULES

Still, even with all the planning, some people can help but be sucked back into their work while on vacation. It’s safe to say you don’t want to put yourself in that position and are trying to take as much time for yourself as possible.

So, the best way to ensure this is setting up a time of day and time limit to how much you check up on your small business. A good example would be taking 30 minutes every morning and possibly another 30 minutes at the end of the day.

In those times in between, when you’re trying to enjoy yourself, there are a number of actions you can take to avoid being sucked back into your small business. These include:

  • Avoid call forwarding your business line to your cell phone

  • Make sure your employees know how to take calls for you or --

  • Use a VOIP service provider such as Grasshopper to take voice mail messages

  • Avoid sending and receiving contracts and other important faxes

  • Avoid social media - even just browsing. The best way to make sure your business stays up-to-date with social media while you’re away is by queuing posts

There are ways to set your business up to remain successful while you’re away. Look into these options and make sure to plan accordingly before taking off.

FINAL WORD

Still, even with all the planning in the world, you may find it difficult to just walk away from your business for a time. Admittedly, your business is your passion and to take a vacation from that almost seems backward.

But it’s important we all step away from our passions from time to time in order to relax our brains and bodies. To have other experiences that make ourselves more versatile as a person.

You’re taking a vacation to enjoy yourself. So, don’t be afraid to step back and enjoy it!