Taking time away from your business is good for your mental health and can actually help you be more productive. Even so, 1 in 10 business owners don’t take vacations at all.
One of the biggest reasons that business owners don’t take vacation is they feel they are too busy to get away.
Or, they feel that time away will cost them business.
You CAN give yourself the gift of a restful and relaxing vacation that doesn’t cost you business by taking some steps to prepare your business for your vacation in advance.
Tips for preparing your business for your absence:
Plan your vacation in advance.
When you put your vacation on your calendar, you can plan your other commitments around it. Don’t be tempted to reschedule or cancel the vacation once you do schedule it; treat it like a commitment to your biggest client. Plan your vacation at least 3 months out, especially if you haven’t successfully gotten away for more than a year.
Consider the needs of your clients while you are gone.
You’ll be more able to relax when you know your clients are fine without you. Do you need to designate someone to handle things in your absence, like an assistant? Or simply warn your clients you will be gone? The answer will depend on how large your business is and how long you will be gone.
Maintain your client relationships.
Being away doesn’t mean your communication with your clients and prospects (your audience) has to stop. Write and schedule newsletters and your social media updates to go out in your absence. For extra safety, don’t post to social media that you are on vacation: wait until you return to share updates and photos. Criminals use social media to look for easy targets to burglarize.
Give your brain permission to NOT remember while on vacation.
The job of remembering every little thing on your to-do list consumes tons of energy and focus, and can make relaxing on vacation next to impossible. Before you leave, clean off your desk. Do as much of your work as possible and strive to leave every project in a position that is easy to pick up where you left off when you return. Leave yourself notes — imagine you are leaving them for an assistant; don’t assume you will remember when you return. This gives your brain permission to “forget” to remind you and will help you relax on vacation.
Set up an “Out of Office” autoresponder.
Let those who email you while you are away know when to expect a reply by creating an automatic message that is sent out in response to every email you receive (typically called an autoresponder or out of office auto-reply). Most people will be understanding and supportive of your time away when you keep them in the loop. If you have an assistant minding the fort while you are gone, include her contact information in the email. Forward your phone or change the greeting to indicate that you are away and when you will return.
Vacation is good for the soul and maybe your business as well. According to a recent Gallup poll, “microbusiness owners [those with 5 or fewer employees, including the owner] who do not take any vacation days are less satisfied with their standard of living and struggle more to balance their work and personal life.” (Source)
Take a few steps to prepare your business for your absence so you can vacation without worry. This will help ensure that you return rested and refreshed with renewed enthusiasm for your work.