For most business owners, downtime is a commodity in short supply. A two-week family vacation (or even a weekend getaway) can seem almost impossible when competition is fierce, clients are demanding and deadlines are never-ending.
No one would dispute that running a small operation is difficult and definitely not for the faint of heart. To be successful, particularly in a shaky economy, business ownership requires determination, tenacity and the ability to work way more than 40 hours a week. Yet even the most dedicated and hard-working business owner needs a break from time to time. Too many days of burning the candle at both ends will eventually lead to exhaustion and possibly even long-term burnout.
Recharging the proverbial batteries is an essential part of helping your business succeed, as well as promoting your physical and mental well-being. Taking a vacation can be extremely beneficial by enabling you to clear your mind, boost your energy level and even develop some fresh new business ideas.
Of course, the concept of taking time off can be daunting. The mere concept of a getaway probably brings to mind a whole variety of questions. What if you lose clients? Who will answer your emails? What if you miss a big opportunity?
While it can seem overwhelming, the reality is that a vacation doesn’t have to put your business in jeopardy. The key is incorporating smart planning and a few key strategies to ensure everything keeps functioning smoothly when you’re off having fun. Are you a vacation-deprived entrepreneur? If so, here’s what you need to know so that you can take a much deserved break:
Choose a Backup Person or Team
Before you start booking your trip, determine who you can count on to back you up while you’re away. Obviously, it’s a good idea to choose individuals who are familiar with your business, clients and industry. You’ll also want to consider their diligence and ability to follow through. Are you not sure who to use as a backup? Consider close associates with whom you can share details of your business. By providing them with the ins and outs of what you do, you might even learn more about your business yourself!
Inform Your Customers
You’ve worked hard to be a real go-to person for your customers, and you’ve been there for them at all hours of the day and night, seven days a week. Because of this, you may be reluctant to tell them that you’re going to be away for a few days. However, it’s absolutely necessary to notify all your customers with the details of your vacation schedule well ahead of your departure. By doing so, they can prepare for your absence and you can minimize last-minute work that might come your way.
It would be wonderful to not think about anything related to business while on vacation. However, it’s likely you’ll still be receiving an occasional call from your backup team or a key client. You many want to check your messages or even receive a fax or two, and your business phone also needs to be answered during your absence.
A solution such as RingCentral’s mobile business phone system is an easy and affordable way to present a professional image and stay connected when you’re away from the office. Calls can be received, forwarded, routed and even picked up by an auto-attendant. And faxes can be received and sent so that you can easily manage your business communications remotely from your mobile phone or PC.
Consider a Working Vacation
Unfortunately, there may be times that you’re in desperate need of some down-time but you just can’t get away for an extended period. A working vacation might be an option. The secret to a productive yet restful working vacation is setting up a schedule. Limit your work hours to a set amount and stick with your plan. Don’t forget to schedule time for yourself, too!
A vacation isn’t a vacation at all if you’re spending your time stressing about work and what isn’t getting done. Everyone, even a solo entrepreneur, deserves to have a life away from work. So don’t feel guilty. Instead, develop a smart plan, and then book your trip. Your business will still be there when you return, and you’ll have the renewed energy to make it even more successful. Happy vacationing!