A recent survey by The Vacationer shows that 80% of American adults plan to travel this summer. It also includes the 45% who said they would travel more than once. That means nearly 93 million Americans will travel once this summer and 115 million will travel more than once.
For entrepreneurs though, breaking away from business for the summer vacation can be a challenge. Here are three tips to prepare you for a worry-free and relaxing vacation.
Prepare your staff, customers and suppliers
Preparing your own staff and the team you lead is one of the most important tasks. For those of you who have employees, appoint a replacement or delegate to lead the item while you are away. This person can handle all your usual daily tasks and responsibilities while maintaining the fort. You can also think about dividing the tasks between several people so that one person is not overloaded. Next, 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 if a customer is compliant. Leaving a list of important phone numbers will also be helpful to your staff when handling certain issues or emergencies, such as your landlord or building maintenance contact, the bank your business is banked with, and the your company’s service providers. If you don’t have employees, you can ask a trusted business partner to be “on call” in case something happens while you’re away.
Also, if you are in regular contact with customers and vendors, be sure to let them know you have an upcoming vacation planned and contact your designated replacement (or team) in your absence. This proactive approach not only gives you time to resolve any potential issues before you leave, but it also makes your customers and contacts feel valued and important to your business.
Prepare your business for the holidays
Before your vacation, it will be important to prepare your business and ensure that any major plans or projects come to fruition before you leave or after you return. For example, don’t plan anything to go live while you’re away, like launching a new website, hosting a big sale, or launching a big advertising campaign. Think about any recurring responsibilities you might be able to handle so that important tasks can be taken care of before you take off.
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that key procedures and processing documents are up-to-date, that important contacts and their phone numbers are listed, and that your staff know where to find them. To avoid being interrupted by your staff regarding minor issues while you are away, be sure to provide a clear definition of “emergency” before you leave and let your staff know what you consider urgent and when. should contact you.
Set boundaries while on vacation
Just as you set rules and times for your business, some of those same boundaries can come in handy while on vacation, as it can be unrealistic to completely disconnect. For example, it might be useful to set a time of day and a time limit for checking emails or forwarding calls. If possible, avoid sending or receiving confidential contracts while you are away and ask your delegate to handle them while you are away.
The more you plan and prepare 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 relax and have fun. Whatever your plan and wherever your destination, now is your time, and as a business owner, you deserve to get away from it all to recharge and refocus.
Brian Formisano is Wells Fargo’s Lake Tahoe Area Banking Manager.