Vacation Tips for Busy Small Business Owners

If you’re a small business owner or “run the shop” at work, you understand the pros and cons of being your own boss. Sure, you can generally make your own schedule, but along with that freedom is the reality of being an entrepreneur: the responsibility, the accountability, and the long hours that can lead to burnout very quickly.

With all that falls squarely on your shoulders, you may feel uneasy about taking a vacation. Don’t stress. Here are tips and to-dos to help the worrisome entrepreneur take a much-needed and rejuvenating vacation.

More bosses are breaking away

According to a 2012 survey by Robert Half Management Resources – a Menlo Park, California-based senior level accounting, finance and business recruiting firm – 51 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) said they didn’t or don’t plan to check in with the office at all while on vacation. That number is nearly double the percentage from a similar poll in 2010 (26 percent), and up significantly from a 2005 study (21 percent).

Why business owners stress

In 2007, an OPEN from American Express Small Business Monitor survey titled, “Employers Skimping on Vacations” asked business owners what concerns them most about being away from the office. The top concerns included:

  • The fear that an important client or customer will receive inadequate service
  • Missing an important new business opportunity
  • Staff will make a poor judgment call
  • Not knowing who will manage the business in their absence

While these concerns are valid, it’s important to your physical and mental health to take a break and re-energize yourself – you’ll return with renewed creativity, energy, and enthusiasm that should translate into more sales and greater enjoyment of your work.

So, start planning your vacation keeping these tips in mind:

    • Notify clients in advance and be sure that they have your contact information if they need to reach you. Be sure to ask if there’s anything you can handle before you leave.

 

    • Ask a trusted colleague to be in charge while you’re away.

 

    • Prepare your employees by discussing potential scenarios that may arise and how they should handle them. Clarify with your staff and colleagues what situations require your immediate attention, and what can be handled by the team at the office. If you expect to be notified of emergencies, provide a way for people to reach you quickly, such as your cell phone number.

 

    • If you’re not planning on working on your vacation, don’t send mixed signals by checking in and returning phone calls and emails. Unless it’s an emergency, relax!

 

    • When you return from vacation, take time to acknowledge the good work of the team, especially those who helped the office run smoothly in your absence. Make note of their efforts in their next performance review.

 

  • Take advantage of out-of-town business trips by adding a few days for some relaxing time.