When you operate your own business, the idea of a vacation may suddenly seem like a foreign concept. Every facet of your business, from keeping track of your mileage to the paint color in the lobby, depends on you.
That said, know that there’s still a way for you to get away and not feel as if everything will burn in your absence. Learn how small business owners vacation.
Know your busy and slow seasons
Every industry has its periods of feast and famine, and you need to know just when those periods are when taking a vacation as a business owner. Obviously, you don’t want to vacation when the phone is ringing off the hook and business is booming.
Instead, book your flight and hotel for the slower part of the year. You can vacation with peace of mind and enjoy yourself without fretting that you’re missing opportunities.
Set your business and employees up for success
Before heading off for palm trees and coconut drinks, prepare your business for your absence. This means letting your clients or customers know that you’ll be unavailable for a while.
If you have employees, you’ll want to let them know so they’re prepared as well. Try to let everyone know the dates of your vacation as soon as you do.
This practice is a good idea in case your departure impacts anyone else’s plans. You’ll have plenty of time to work with customers and employees to figure something out so everyone is taken care of.
Shut everything down
You can also consider closing business for vacation. This is an especially good idea if there are times of the year when business slows to a crawl. You may feel it costs you more money to keep your doors open when there’s not much going on.
Closing up shop can extract all the worry from the vacation equation. This is because you don’t have to chew your nails about missed phone calls or slacking employees.
Know that shutting down could mean your clients and customers go elsewhere for their business needs. Only you can decide if this is a risk you feel comfortable taking.
Perhaps you don’t mind working while on vacation. Technology has gotten to a place where you can easily work remotely no matter where you are. A working vacation may ease some of your worries, but it can also defeat the purpose of taking a vacation. Instead of relaxing and being a bum, you’re still putting in hours. Keeping one foot in the office may not give your brain the chance it needs to fully recharge.
Consider a replacement
If your company cannot operate without you there, consider training someone to run the operations while you’re away. This replacement could be one of your current employees or someone new.
In either case, the individual needs to be prepared as much as possible. Thorough preparation better ensures success, and there’s less chance of your vacation being interrupted by business.
Stash some money away
Having a financial buffer is a great idea for every business. In terms of taking a vacation, that buffer can keep you from returning to a financial disaster.
For instance, you could lose a big client by closing up shop while you’re gone. If that happens, your buffer can insulate you from financial fallout while you wrangle up new business.
Set aside time for check-ins
Just as your parents may have checked in on you while they were on vacation, you can do the same. Set aside time every day of your vacation to call in and see how things are going. You can get a rundown of everything, and your staff can ask any questions they may have.
Ensure clients and employees know when you call in so they can have their questions prepared. This can cut down on “emergency” phone calls and emails and maximize everyone’s time.
Speaking of emergencies…
Train employees for emergencies
After having your own business for a while, you may get used to handling emergencies on your own. Let your employees know whom to call in case the air conditioning goes out or if there’s a computer problem.
If there are regular issues you’re aware of, share them with your staff. Not only can the right contact save time, but it can also save money as well.
For instance, if there’s a plumbing issue, that needs to be taken care of ASAP. Your team can waste time wondering which plumbing service to call, all while water is continuing to rise.
Taking a worry-free vacation is all about preparation, no matter the size of your business. Enjoy yourself, and rest assured that your business baby will be there when you return.
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MileIQ’s blog does not constitute professional tax advice. You should contact your own tax professional to discuss your situation.