Summer vacation season is just around the corner and millions of Americans will leave their desks and offices for a little hard-earned time off. Travel experts predict the summer of 2016 will yield the highest rates of travel, both by air and car, in the past decade.
If you own a small business, the very thought of taking time off may cause you anxiety. Small business owners tend to live and breathe their companies and walking away, even for a brief time, is scary. Time off is necessary though, for your own wellness and the health of your business too. Only 25 percent of Americans use all their allotted time off, and small business owners are even worse at allowing themselves a break from work.
The best way to enjoy your time off is to plan well. Knowing that your small business is running smoothly while you’re away will give the peace of mind you need to really enjoy your vacation. Take a look at a few ways to make that happen:
Don’t let your work pile up while you are away. Find a way to distribute some of your tasks to other employees. If all of your employees are in your family and traveling along with you, consider hiring temporary administrative help to return calls and emails, and keep you updated on what is happening with your business while you are away.
It’s like they say in business and in poker: You need to know how to create a game plan to make the most of your hand. Do as much work in advance of your vacation as possible and anticipate what is due when you return. No one likes to come back from a relaxing vacation to a hectic work environment with several orders to fill or deadlines to meet. Consider what is a priority when you come home and set yourself up for success before you even start packing your bags. Don’t expect to get all of that extra work done in a day or two though; start adding in a little extra work about a month before your trip departure.
Schedule work time
While you certainly don’t want to spend your entire vacation on your laptop or phone, it’s okay to check in if that makes you feel better. Schedule short amounts of time (an hour per day, for example) to check your work emails, return calls, and handle any issues that have arisen since you left. When the hour is up, sign off and sign back in to your vacation until the time comes to check your work again.
Take marketing materials
Your vacation shouldn’t center on work – but there are simple ways to feel like you are still advancing your business while you are on the road. Pack some business cards for the trip in case an opportunity to talk about your line of work arises. If your small business is national or worldwide, leave a few business cards at every stop with your website and contact details. It’s important to step away from your day-to-day routine when you take time off but it’s perfectly acceptable to still act like yourself – a small business owner who is passionate about your work.
If you are a small business owner, what steps do you take to enjoy your time off?