Taking a vacation as a small business owner and leaving the company in the hands of its workers can be difficult and a bit intimidating. Because of this, many owners simply forgo ever taking a vacation. However, everyone needs a break from time to time to avoid burning out. Vacations can prove to be good for your mind, body and even your business success.
To get a real hiatus away from the office—one that isn’t plagued by constant second-guessing and worrying—work with your employees before you leave town. While this may seem difficult, it’s actually quite doable.
With a little preparation and hard work, you can make your vacation more relaxing by ensuring that things are taken care of before leaving. Below are some steps that can help you do just that.
1. Prepare Your Employees
Prep your employees to handle things in your absence without constantly needing to refer to you. Delegate responsibility, and trust that your chosen employees will handle it. To do this, go over how decisions are made, and outline the best ways to go about making those decisions. Give them leads on projects and assignments, and demonstrate how to handle issues without your assistance.
Start with smaller tasks while you are still in the office so you can see how both you and your employees respond to the new responsibilities. Go over the responses you would give to common issues. Let them know your expectations for when you are gone, and designate one go-to person to field questions when other employees have issues. This will create less stress on your employees and will give you a break from managerial duties.
2. Check-In on a Schedule
While it may be hard to be completely off the grid while you are on vacation, you don’t want to be tied to your phone or computer all day. Turn off email alerts, but set up times and special circumstances for when employees can contact you.
For example, have your designated go-to person send you one review email at the end of the day with any unanswered questions and updates on projects. Also, consider giving only one employee your contact information to minimize the number of replies you have to address.
3. Take Care of Impending Responsibilities
There are some duties that can be taken care of before you leave. By getting them out of the way beforehand, you can leave town without worrying about someone else doing them while you’re away. This includes paying invoices, emailing clients and setting deadlines, so you have fewer things to be concerned about while you are gone. Working harder in preparation for your absence can make your vacation a lot more relaxing.
4. Contact Clients and Customers
Your employees aren’t the only ones that need to be updated about your vacation. Let clients and customers know that you’ll be gone, how long you’ll be gone for and who they can contact in your absence. Tell them exactly who will be taking care of their projects and managing their accounts.
If you feel it’s necessary, assure them that everything will be taken care of while you are away, and let them know that deadlines and assignments won’t change just because you’re out of the office. Then, be sure to remind them of your pending departure as the date approaches, and ask for any questions or concerns that you can address before leaving.
5. Set Your Outgoing Messages
Just because you’re going to be out of the office isn’t a reason to slack on customer service. Outgoing messages ensure that people are informed about your absence, so they aren’t waiting for a response that isn’t coming.
Use your voicemail and email outgoing messages to alert people that you are gone, and be sure to let them know when you will be back and whom they can contact in the meantime in case issues arise. You can also set up your phone or email to forward messages to a manager who is in the office and can respond in a timely manner.
By following these steps, you’re not only preparing yourself for a worry-free break, but you’re also preparing your business for self-sufficiency. While you can’t prepare for every contingency, there’s a lot you can prepare for, and it’s worth taking the extra time to do it.