Tips For Small Business Owners: How To Get More Out Of Your Vacation
You’ve heard it before. You might have even said it yourself.
“I’m a small business owner. I can’t go on vacation.”
Small business owners carry a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. What happens to their business directly affects them. When the company takes a hit, the owner takes a hit.
And the fact that 80% of all businesses fail within the first two years doesn’t help, either.
In short, it’s no wonder small business owners are so reluctant to go on vacation. Too much can happen in their absence, and they won’t be there to address it.
Even so, there is no denying the positive psychological and emotional impact that taking vacation has on people. Studies have found that taking vacation coincides with a drop in prescription antidepressants. In fact, many countries in the world now mandate that companies allot their workers a month or more of vacation every year.
Tips For Small Business Owners Who Are Considering Going On Vacation
If you’re considering registering your own business, but are afraid of never going on vacation, don’t fret. There are numerous ways to make sure that your business stays up and running, even if you venture out of the country.
Let’s take a look at some tips for small business owners who are considering going on vacation soon.
Don’t Blow Your Money
Many business owners don’t collect a paycheck. They simply reap the profit left over at the end of the day.
When said that way, it sounds like business owners have cash to burn. While some certainly do, others make a more modest living. Instead of investing in personal enjoyment, they must use that profit to invest in bettering their business.
If they don’t need to better their business right away, many put that profit away to get through lean times. While the economy is improving, the signs still indicate an unstable market. Putting away money now rather than needlessly spending it is a wise idea.
That idea extends to vacation. When on vacation, concentrate on relaxation. Concentrate on “getting away from it all.” Don’t concentrate on indulging needless spending sprees.
Go During The Slow Season
Every business has its busy and slow seasons.
To keep your stress levels low, identify your slow season and plan your vacation during that time.
If your business works with clients, you will may need to pick the holiday season. Most clients go away during the holidays, meaning they won’t be around to do business anyway.
If your business is retail-driven, then likely your slow period will be during the summer. Customers prefer to attend outdoor events rather than spend time inside.
Many employees keep their vacation plans a secret. After all, they don’t want to be bothered while on vacation about stuff they’re going on vacation to get away from.
Small business owners don’t have that luxury.
Instead of keeping their vacation a secret, small business owners should tell both their employees and clients.
Telling their clients or customers allows them to prepare for the period for which you’ll be away. They’ll address their business needs with you either prior to your departure or after your return. That way, they won’t bring their needs to your employees who aren’t in the know, which can lead to frustration for everyone.
Close Up If You Need To
In some cases, it may be easier just to close up shop while you’re away.
For example, let’s say you’re the sole employee at your business. If you couldn’t work a day, you’d have to scramble to find a friend or family member to hold the fort in your stead. That friend or family member will likely lack your experience and knowledge.
That could lead to problems when it comes to interacting with clients or customers.
In this case, it’s prudent to just close up shop instead of dealing with the possibly-negative consequences later. Your business would take a hit from not bringing in money, but it’s better than losing business long-time.
Over-Prepare Prior To The Trip
Before going on vacation you should make the necessary preparations. Over-prepare if necessary.
Make sure your employees have your full contact information. That information includes not just your e-mail and phone number but your hotel’s e-mail and phone number.
If you’ll be travelling to multiple places, make sure your employees know which hotel you’ll be staying at on which day. That way, if an emergency arises, they can contact you as quickly as possible.
In addition, draw up and print out any documentation you may need to leave. Common documentation includes instructions on how to handle certain situations and client or customer contact information.
If you want to know which employee completed your duties, leave your employees with a time sheet. Instruct them to fill in their name and the time at which they performed the duty.
One of the most important tips for small business owners is addressing payroll. Payroll is something you’ll want to take care of before going on vacation. Prior to leaving, prepare all payroll information and issue the paychecks for your employees to pick up.
If you are going to be gone for more than a week or two, set the schedule that far ahead. That way, you’ll know how much you need to pay your employees before you go on vacation.
Make Sure Everyone Is Aware Of Their Role
Another important business tip is to make sure all employees are aware of their roles. This goes double for when you’re away on vacation.
Initiate a meeting with employees prior to leaving. Review sales, pricing, and current business dealings with clients or customers.
Use this time to show them how you want things run in your absence. Explain any documentation you’ve drawn up and how to fill out the time sheets you’ve made.
Make Yourself Available
Clients and customers want to know that they can get a hold of you in a bind. To them, a “bind” might mean anything from a legitimate emergency to a mild inconvenience.
Regardless, you may need to be willing to work with them while on vacation in order to keep their business.
If this is the case for you, an easy way to compromise is to start a strictly business e-mail account. Then, give that e-mail address to customers and clients to use while you’re away on vacation. That way, they’ll shoot you an e-mail that you can address in due time instead of call you.
Of course, while you must address client and customer needs, you must think of your own needs as well. Set a time every day that you’re away on vacation for answering e-mails.
While you’re on vacation, check your e-mail only at that time. Once you’ve addressed all e-mails for the day, log out until the same time the next day.
Train A Point of Contact
Another great tip for any small business owner is to have a point of contact for customers and clients. They can reach out to that point of contact, who then reaches out to you with the customers’ concerns.
In this fashion, someone can give you all the information you need without the need to be interrupted while addressing other, potentially more important matters.
While you’re out on vacation, your point of contact will take all of your calls and e-mails. They will note everything of importance about each issue and then relay it all to you either by phone or in an e-mail. From there, you can instruct them on how to handle the situation.
Points of contact are especially useful because they also act as an assistant. If your point of contact can act in your stead, then there is no need for them to bother you while you’re on vacation.
Need More Tips For Small Business Owners?
At Opstart, we recognize that making the decision to start a business comes with a lot of questions and uncertainty.
If you need more tips for small business owners, check out our blog. Our content features numerous resources and tips for business owners to start and grow their business.