If you care about the health of your business, not to mention your own well-being, you’ll take a vacation!
Eighty-two percent of small-business owners who took a vacation reported an increase in job performance upon their return to work, according to the Inuit Small Business Blog .
Yet small-business proprietors are notoriously stingy with themselves when it comes to time off. They work more and relax less than their non-entrepreneurial counterparts, a Discover Small Business Watch poll confirmed. The top explanations? Concerns about loss of potential business, alienating current clients/customers, a crisis situation, and returning to even more work. Recognize any of them?
If you really believe your business is at risk of falling apart without your constant attention, then a vacation can do more than get you out of your rut; it can fine-tune your management and operational skills!
Here’s how you can do it:
Start Small, Be Realistic.
Vacation doesn’t mean 3 weeks in the jungle with no wi-fi and unreliable cell phone reception (but it doesn’t mean going to the Bahamas then setting up shop in the hotel business center, either). Start with an afternoon off, then a day trip, then a long weekend…
You don’t have to go cold turkey when it comes to touching base either. Digital and mobile technology can keep you connected from afar. Just set limits on the time you allot and stick to them.
Timing & Committing.
Identify your busiest times and slower periods, then plan time off for after the former and during the latter. If you’re prone to canceling at the last minute, put down a deposit on your vacation to raise the stakes of changing plans.
Make sure your clients, vendors, staff-anyone who might need you during your absence-are given sufficient advance notice so they can prepare themselves. And while you’re away you should continue communicating (through voicemail or email auto-response, for example), so current and potential customers know how to proceed.
If you have employees, delegate. Work with them in the days/weeks prior to your departure on what must get done and your expectations, coaching them as needed (perhaps role-playing “what-if situations) and empowering them to make their own decisions as appropriate.
If you are a sole proprietor with no staff, then consider relying on “the competition”! You can’t always predict when your services may be needed. By networking – attending chamber of commerce and trade association meetings, for example – you can seek out honest, ethical, and talented competitors with whom you can cross-refer for a relationship that benefits everyone.
For more helpful tips and reinforcement, check out these resources:
Why Taking a Vacation Can Make You Better at Your Job – Work*Smart @ FastCompany.com
Operation Vacation: Yes, small business owners, you can get away from work – Bank of America Small Business Online Community
Can a Sole Proprietor Take a Vacation? – NFIB.com (National Federation of Independent Business)