Taking time off when you're the boss: 9 tips
As a business owner, it can be challenging to take time off. Even if you started your business so you could ‘make your own hours,’ you know that it doesn’t always work out that way. At the same time, it’s important to recharge and reconnect with family and friends.
There are some things you can do to make it easier to get away from your business for a while. Here’s a stress-free vacation guide for business owners.
1. Time it right
Try to take your vacation at a time when your business is slow, and when you have enough help to staff your operation while you’re gone. For some retailers, this may be in summer when the college kids are available to work, and no one has begun to think about holiday shopping yet. Food truck operators may choose to take time off in the winter or spring when the weather isn’t as good and fewer people are lining up for tacos. Tax preparers should be in good shape for most of the summer, but January through April are off the table.
2. Plan ahead
Take care of any tasks you can before you go away. Pay invoices, schedule payroll, and stock shelves before you leave if needed. Make sure to block off your vacation on your calendar if you use a scheduling program so no one schedules a meeting while you’re out.
3. Postpone what you can
Avoid ordering inventory or supplies until you get back. Have enough on hand for the time that you’re gone but schedule new deliveries for after your return.
4. Check your premises
If there won’t be anyone in your office while you’re gone, make sure it’s locked up tight. Set thermostats at a moderate temperature so you’re not using too much energy. If there are other businesses nearby, let a fellow owner know that you’ll be away and ask them to keep an eye on your space. Leave your contact number in case of an emergency. Also, make sure your business insurance is adequate and in force. If you’re not sure, give us a call at 866-283-7545 – a licensed agent can help.
5. Leave one person in charge
If you have multiple employees, it may be tempting to spread responsibility among several of them. But having one person who is ultimately responsible – as you would be if you were there – can make it easier for everyone to know where the buck stops.
6. Check in on your terms
If you feel you need to check in on your business, set a schedule for yourself. You may feel comfortable calling twice during the week, every other day, or at the end of each day. Do what feels right for you. And adjust if you need to. That said…
7. Don’t answer your phone
Once you leave, be confident in your staff and your preparation, and try not to let business interrupt your vacation. Let your stand-in know to text in an emergency so you can leave your ringer off.
8. Set your out-of-office messages
Leave a detailed automatic email response and a voicemail greeting on your phone. State when you left and when you will be back, and who should be contacted in your absence.
9. Plan for your return
After some time away, it may be challenging to handle the mountain of tasks that will likely await you when you return. Schedule time to get back up to speed on all the things that happened while you were gone, before you begin to tackle new projects. Don’t undo all the good that unplugging did you by burning yourself out when you get back.
Ready to go? We made a handy checklist you can download so you don’t miss anything.
Oh, and there’s one more thing you’ll want to be sure to do: Have a great time!