Small business owners are hard-working individuals who put an enormous amount of time and energy into their entrepreneurial ventures. With this type of time investment, it can become difficult for such business owners to “tear” themselves away from working, to go on vacation. These individuals may feel that their business won’t survive without them involved in the daily operation. However, in order to operate at maximum potential, business owners need to take the time to get away on vacation.
According to American Express’ Small Business Monitor, “60% of owners plan to take one full week of summer vacation this year, up from just 49% in 2013.” The fact that the percentage has gone up this year, is a good thing.
Taking a break from your business is essential to physical, mental and emotional health. This article will share four steps business owners can take to plan for their business while they’re away on vacation.
Step # 1: Change Your Perspective
Most people think that a vacation means 1 – 3 weeks completely unplugged. Many individuals can take several weeks’ vacation and disconnect from the world and relax. However, business owners do not always have that luxury. Alice Bredin is a small business consultant for American Express Open. She said, “Waiting for that three-week vacation keeps people from actually taking it.” In her interview with Business News Daily, Ms. Bredin went on to say that business owners need to redefine what vacation means to them. Even business owners need to de-stress from the daily operation. However, they need to realize that they might need to check in a few times with their managers to see how things are going in their absence. Bredin suggested that if a week or two is not an option, then “take a four-day trip and check in three times.”
Step # 2: Disconnect to Reconnect
This step is an important follow up to step #1. While you still need to check in and find out what’s going on back at home with your business, you need to realize the importance of disconnecting. As a business owner, you need to set boundaries on your trip. Don’t plan to work the entire time you are away. That’s not a vacation, but rather a business trip. Ms. Bredin suggests, “Get up every morning, take an hour or two to work, and take the rest of the day off.” If you don’t set boundaries to disconnect, you won’t be able to relax and then reconnect in your business in a good way when you return.
Step # 3: Delegate a Task Force
During the planning stages of your vacation, don’t forget to delegate a “task force” to keep the business operating smoothly while you’re away. Delegating a competent team to manage the business while you’re on vacation will help you relax. You’ll feel confident that someone else is holding the reins. Ms. Bredin suggests delegating a second-in-command person who is someone that you trust to lead this task force. Make certain that all of your employees understand the level of command while you are away. Shortly before you leave, handle any administrative tasks and any other pressing matters to be squared away. Meet with your task force and properly delegate the work so that there are no questions while you’re gone. Ms. Bredin advises, “Let them know what’s in play, what will come up and when they should call you directly, for your peace of mind.”
Step # 4: Relax and Have Fun
Go into this vacation knowing that it most likely will be difficult to let go of the reins and relax, especially if this is your first trip away from your business. Let’s face facts…your business is your baby. You know how to make things operate smoothly and finding the right person to trust as your second-in-command may not be easy. As your business grows, you need to be constantly looking for new managers who you can trust to assist you in managing and developing your staff and the business. I like Ms. Bredin’s statement that, “You’re not the president of the World Bank. Just go away and take a break. You can and you have to, to keep respecting yourself.” Basically, she’s saying sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to let go of the reins and let the managers we leave behind, run the business.
Resources for Business Owners as They Travel
For some helpful apps that business owners can use as they travel, check out this article on 8 Apps for the Business Traveler. Some of the apps listed are uber.com (car service), tripit.com (travel itinerary) and grabb.com (locating places to eat).
Letting go of the reins and taking a vacation is so vital for a business owner to remain stress-free and in control of his or her business. If we don’t allow ourselves to have some down time, we won’t be functioning at our best level in our businesses. The first step begins with changing your perspective when it comes to what a vacation should mean to you. Learn how to disconnect in order to reconnect with your business. For peace of mind while you’re away, delegate a competent task force to keep your business running smoothly. Lastly, don’t forget to relax and have fun.
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