Summer vacation can create a conundrum for small business owners. It may feel impossible to keep things afloat during a prolonged absence, especially if you’re carrying the company on your back.
But taking a summer vacation has benefits you can’t ignore like recharging your batteries, reducing stress and improving mental health. Although it takes some effort and preparation, you can plan for summer without neglecting your business.
Plan in Advance
You should recognize that this isn’t typically the kind of thing you can pull off at the last minute. The first step is to plan the details and develop a vacation policy well in advance. It should be one month at the very minimum, but the more time you have to plan the better. Hold a meeting to discuss the essentials and get everyone’s feedback.
One key thing to consider is whether you and your employees want to take separate vacations or whether you want to shut down operations completely and take a vacation all at once. Figure out the logistics to decide which path to take and how much prep time will be required.
Here are some specific tasks you’ll want to complete prior to your vacation:
- Pay the bills
- Put in orders
- Hold off on any major projects
Deputize a Substitute
Appoint someone to handle any major issues that present themselves during your absence. Choose a trusted colleague or employee that you feel comfortable with to handle important matters. They will be responsible for making basic decisions and will be the point of contact for key stakeholders.
Inform Clients and Vendors
One of the main reasons that some entrepreneurs choose not to take a vacation is because they don’t want to sour relationships with clients or vendors. They don’t want to burn any bridges. But this shouldn’t be an issue as long as you give these individuals a heads up and notify them will in advance. Most experts agree that you should do this at least one month ahead of time. If possible, try to arrange backup services for your clients to minimize any complications on their end.
Automate What You Can
In his book, The Four-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss discusses how he traveled extensively while still efficiently running his business. He was able to accomplish this largely due to automation and outsourcing. Some examples of business process automation include:
- Set up an autoresponder for email inquiries
- Outsource basic tasks to a virtual assistant
- Schedule blog posts and other content ahead of time on WordPress
- Schedule social media posts with a platform like Buffer
For more examples and automation ideas, check out this post from Process Street.
Determine How Accessible You Want to Be
The thought of relinquishing control for a week or more can be semi-nightmarish for many business owners. So they end up sabotaging their vacation by personally responding to every little hiccup that occurs along the way. The last thing you want is for your mind to be occupied with work when you should be enjoying your time off.
Decide just how accessible you need to be and create some boundaries so you can bask in relaxation relatively stress-free. For instance, you may check your email once a day and only respond to major emergencies.
Now is the perfect time to plan for summer and get all of your ducks in a row. With adequate preparation, you’ll pull it off without a hitch and return refreshed and rejuvenated.