A recent survey from The Vacationer shows that 80% of American adults plan to travel this summer. It also includes the 45% that said they would travel more than once. This means nearly 93 million Americans will travel once this summer and 115 million will travel more than once.
For entrepreneurs, breaking away from a business for summer vacation can be a challenge. Here are three tips to help prepare you for a worry-free and relaxing vacation:
Prepare your staff, clients and vendors
Preparing your own staff and team that you are heading out is one of the most important to-do’s. For those of you who have employees, appoint a back-up or delegate to run point while you’re away. That person can handle all your usual daily tasks and responsibilities while holding down the fort. You can also think about dividing tasks among several people so one person isn’t overloaded. Then, it will be important to have a documented list of what to do or who to contact for various situations. For example, what to do if the internet connection goes down, or what to do in the event of a client compliant. Leaving a list of important phone numbers will also be helpful to your staff when navigating certain issues or emergencies, such as your landlord or building maintenance contact, the bank your business banks with, and service providers for your company. If you don’t have employees, you can ask a trusted business buddy to be “on call” in case anything comes up while you’re away.
Also, if you are in regular contact with clients and vendors, make sure to give them a heads up that you have planned an upcoming vacation and to contact your appointed back-up person (or team) in your absence. This proactive approach not only gives you time to work out any potential issues before you go, but it makes your clients and contacts feel valued and important to your business.
Get your business “vacation ready”
In advance of your vacation, it will be important to prepare your business and make sure any big plans or projects either happen before you leave or after your return. For example, don’t schedule anything to go “live” while you’re away, like launching a new website, hosting a big sale, or kicking-off a big advertising campaign. Think about any recurring responsibilities that you might be able to front-load so important tasks can be taken care of before you take off. Also, you’ll want to make sure key procedures and processing documents are updated, important contacts and their phone numbers are listed, and your staff knows where to locate them. To avoid being interrupted by your employees regarding minor issues while away, make sure you provide a clear definition of “emergency” before you leave and inform your staff what you consider urgent and when it’s appropriate to contact you.
Set boundaries while you’re on vacation
Just like you set rules and schedules for your business, some of those same boundaries might be helpful while on vacation because it might be unrealistic to totally unplug. For example, it might be useful if you set a time of day and time limit for checking emails or returning calls. If at all possible, avoid sending or receiving confidential contracts while you’re away and have your delegate handle those while you’re gone.
The more planning and preparation you do before your break, the more you can relax while you’re away. But perhaps the most important tip for taking a vacation as a small business owner is to actually relax and enjoy yourself. Whatever your plan is and wherever your destination is, this is your time, and as a business owner, you deserve to get away to recharge and refocus.
Joy Ott is the Wells Fargo Idaho regional banking director.