As a business owner, it’s hard to find the time to take a vacation. Even if you are able to find the time, it can be difficult to take a real vacation where you relax and intentionally release yourself from business concerns. But, vacation time is important for you to care of yourself, recharge, and bring a new perspective to your business. As I’m preparing for my annual summer vacation, I’m sharing ways I’ve been preparing the business for my absence.
Determine the Right Time
The timing of your vacation is critical for you to be able to relax. Your business’ slowest season is usually a good time to take off, and may be a time when you can close the business altogether. Also, consider how long you can realistically be away from the business without an adverse impact to your customer relationships or finances.
Provide Advance Notice
Let your team members, customers, and strategic partners know ahead of time that you are going to be on vacation. Give them at least a couple of weeks notice before you go away. Let them know how much, if any, access they will have to you while you’re gone, and how they can reach you if there’s an urgent matter.
Assign Points of Contact
If you are working with a team, prepare them for your absence. Identify who can respond to specific issues while you’re away. For example, if you’re working with an administrative assistant, you might ask them to respond to meeting requests and payment issues while you’re away. Make sure those team members know which decisions they have agency over and what needs to wait until you return.
Ensure Your Finances Are Sound
Make sure your business’ finances are in order by paying any bills that may come due or ensuring there’s enough cash in the bank to cover any bills that are scheduled to be paid while you’re away. Also, leave a cushion, either through extra cash in the business’ bank account or business credit, in case an emergency arises.
Schedule Your Marketing Activities
It’s important to stay consistent with your marketing presence while you are away. Prepare your social media posts, newsletters, blogs, etc. in advance and schedule their release throughout your vacation. Tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, and Planoly, allow you to schedule social media posts, and standard email marketing programs, such as Mailchimp and Constant Contact, allow you to schedule delivery of email newsletters.
Create an Out-of-Office Response
Having an out-of-office response will help you manage expectations on your email response time while you’re on vacation. Pretty much every email program has an option to set up an automated out-of-office response. You can set it to let people know you’re away with limited or no access to email, when you’ll return, and if there’s anyone else on your team they can contact for specific issues while you’re away.
Set Boundaries for Yourself
With email, texts, and voice mail all on the same device, it’s so easy to obsessively check up on things while you’re away. Set boundaries about if you will check in on your messages. If you decide to check in, create a routine by picking the time of day you’ll check in and the amount of time you’ll spend on your check in, and stick to your boundaries.
Enjoy Your Time Away
You’ve done all the work to prepare your business for your absence. Now, you need to trust that everything is under control. And, get out there and have some fun!