4 Tips for Business Owners:  

How to take a vacation and actually enjoy it!  

For business owners, taking a “vacation” means simply working from a different location – whether that be a beach, cruise ship or some other location.  It means telling your family you need a minute to take a call or scheduling excursions around video conferences. The idea of taking a true vacation, one where you don’t spend the entire time tied to your phone or computer, seems impossible. However, stepping away from your business can actually be an important part of business growth. Beyond that, it can even help you get set on your business succession planning path.  So how is this accomplished? 

How Many Business Owners Take Vacation? 

A recent study by OnDeck found some interesting traits among business owners.  Findings of the study included: 

  • Approximately just over half of small business owners take vacations – Only 57 percent of small business owners are planning to take a vacation this year. 
  • Small business owners take very few vacation days – 61 percent of those planning a vacation will take just five business days off per year, compared to 10 business days of vacation the average person employed by corporate America takes annually. 
  • Most don’t unplug from work while on vacation – 67 percent check in with work at least once per day. Only 15 percent will disconnect entirely. 
  • Most business owners don’t take vacation the first 10 years in business – Only 47 percent of business owners that have been open for less than 10 years will take a vacation, compared to 70 percent of owners in business more than 10 years that will take a vacation. 
  • Having more employees eases the load – 63 percent of owners with 6-10 employees take vacations versus 42 percent of owners who are self-employed. 

So how can you become one of those rare few who are able to unplug during vacation? We scoured the internet to find some tips for you. Read on: 

Consider potential issues before you go on vacation.  

According to Forbes, to prepare your company for your vacation, try to hypothesize any potential issues that could go wrong and prepare your teams accordingly.  

“Such preparations can reveal where you need to strengthen business communication channels, what emergency protocols are out of date and what type of inefficiencies are slowing you down. For example, before you leave might be a good time to streamline your point of sale and checkout processes. Make sure the process is smooth, bug-free and easy to navigate. Review other departments to see if there is a heavy load of manual work, too much documentation or bloated administrative work. Talk to your team to see where you can digitalize, eliminate or outsource.” 

Prepare your customers and employees in advance for your vacation. 
 According to Zen Business, the key to making your vacation a real vacation is to prepare customers and your employees for your absence. 

“If you have individual clients who work with you, personally (instead of working with any of your employees), alert them in advance to your vacation schedule and that you will be unavailable to do their work during your vacation. 

If you have clients who tend to wait until the last moment to have work done, tell them you’re going to leave (or will be unavailable) starting several days before you actually plan to leave for vacation. That way, you won’t have to deal with their last-minute requests when you want to be packing and getting ready to leave.” 

Designate a Second in Command before you go on vacation. 

Business.com recommends “identifying someone on your staff as your second-in-command, or temporary replacement, while you are gone. You are more likely to get a real break from work if you have someone acting on your behalf and handling anything that you would normally handle. 

The person you designate as your backup should be someone you trust implicitly to make decisions on your behalf. But that person should also be someone who is not afraid to say no – and someone who can act as your gatekeeper, helping to protect your precious time off.  

Then communicate to the rest of your team who is acting on your behalf while you are on vacation. Otherwise, you might have team members contacting you about issues that could have been handled without interrupting your vacation.” 

Learn to delegate (or get better at it) before you go on vacation.   

Shopify suggests honing your delegations skills. “Steve Strauss in USA Today highlights the importance of spreading out your responsibilities among your staff while you’re away. When you’ve built your business from the ground up, delegating tasks—especially those that you’ve personally handled since the start—can be especially challenging. But delegation is really important, beyond just providing you the opportunity to take a holiday. Delegation leads to improved efficiency, happier staff, and a more sustainable, long-term business plan. 

You should practice delegation before you take off on your holiday so that this isn’t the first time your team is left on their own, and so you’re more comfortable with the whole situation. 

At the end of the day, how you prepare your business for your vacation will vary based on business needs at the time.  But the key is to take that vacation. Remember, you’re not alone—entrepreneurs often grapple with how and when to take a vacation and usually struggle with the idea of detaching from work obligations and concerns when out of the office.  It’s believed that entrepreneurs have a greater likelihood of mental health challenges, with the compounded stress and responsibility of owning a business. It could even be argued that entrepreneurs can’t succeed without taking a vacation, otherwise it could be difficult to avoid burnout, stress, and even depression. So, consider your business, prepare your team, brush up on those delegation skills and unplug!  

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If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an initial consultation, please contact Navigant Law Group, LLC at (847) 253-8800 or email us at hello@navigantlaw.com.  

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