5 Tips For Taking a Vacation While Running a Small Business

Summer_vacation : Summer from human footprint on sand, vector illustrationIt’s summer.  The traditional time for vacations.  But if you’re like most entrepreneurs it’s tough to get away from your business — particularly if you’re just getting started and working solo.  Your business consumes you 24 hours a day seven days a week.

But did you know a vacation could actually enhance your business success?  Working non-stop increases your risk of serious illnesses and diminishes your productivity and creativity.  However, the question remains:  How do you get away without putting your business at risk?

1.  Close of shop.  There’s a diner in my neighborhood that closes the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  A small town deli owner says he and his wife close for a week in February to vacation in a warmer climate.  These business owners find their customers anticipate and accept their annual brief closings.  However, shutting down for a week won’t work for every type of business.  If you’re in a service business and a client needs you while you’re gone, you could risk losing that customer to a competitor.

2.  Select a slow time.  While some businesses are inherently seasonal, every business has it slow spells.  Pay close attention to your operations and choose a vacation time where business is slower.  Mark your vacation on the calendar well in advance.  My husband and I plan most of our trips about a year in advance.  Otherwise I’d never find time to take the break I need.

3.  Hire a Temp.  When you work on your own, you don’t have staff to cover for you while you’re away so consider hiring a temporary manager.  Sometimes retired business owners who have worked in your industry are available to fill in for you.  Make sure you plan ahead so you aren’t trying to train them at the last minute.

4.  Notify Customers.  Once you’ve committed to taking your well-deserved time off and you’ve made arrangements for coverage, notify your customers.  Let them know how long you’ll be away and who is there to help them while you’re gone.  Personally, I usually provide a contact number for myself in case of emergencies.  No one will begrudge you taking a vacation and they’ll appreciate knowing you are making sure their business is managed well while you’re away.

5.  Make use of mobile technology.  Mobile technology helps you manage your business from anywhere in the world.  You can keep track and up-to-date of every critical aspect of your business including inventory, sales and financials.  It’s very easy to stay connected to the office while you’re relaxing on the beach.  A word of caution, however, a working vacation isn’t really the break you need.  Try to unplug so you can return to your business relaxed and re-energized.