It’s tough as a small business to pull yourself away. There is always something to do—check email, invoicing, preparing for the next meeting—and on it goes. What if you’re away for a day or two or even a week? Just think of everything that could possibly go wrong: the unanswered email, the appointments you will miss and the “catastrophe” just waiting to happen!
Most business owners are reticent to take time off. And the catastrophe you think will occur won't. It just takes a bit of planning.
Vacationing is normal no matter where you live. In fact, vacationing helps you recharge—it’s good for you and your business. In the U.S., most Americans take less vacation time than our counterparts in other countries. The World Tourism Organization reports the average annual vacation days taken as:
And, the U.S. comes in with just 13 days of vacation. So it’s up to you to make the most of those 13 days!
Instead of fretting about your top clients or missed opportunities, use your vacation to relax and renew your corporate vision. See the world and your business from a new perspective. Vacations can be the source of inspiration for start-up ideas, new products, new programs or even a new direction.
Multi-million dollar company, Boston Duck Tours, was conceived by investment manager, Andy Wilson during a vacation to Memphis where he observed a tour bus traveling over land and water.
Campground wireless Internet service provider, TengoInternet, got its name from the inspiration of Eric Stumberg when vacationing in Mexico. The company name in Spanish means “I have Internet.”
Let Go of Control
Taking a vacation is the perfect opportunity to test the abilities of your staff to navigate the ship. Ask your staff to make a list of top priorities so they are accountable while you are gone. Micromanaging will not lead to success. Learning to delegate will.
For small business owners, give staff a checklist as to when to contact you. For the self-employed entrepreneur, make arrangements with another trusted peer to deal with any emergency while you are away. If you’ve planned ahead, you will find that there will be no emergencies.
Inform your Clients
Notify all active clients know about your vacation and how long you expect to be away. Let them know you’ll be reachable by phone or email, should you choose. Set up an automated email response to notify clients the length of your departure and if there is an alternate contact.
If you use online scheduling as a part of your appointment process, mark the time you will be away so clients do not set an appointment during that time. An automated scheduling system can help eliminate any potential problems as clients can continue to schedule appointments, prepay for services, receive confirmations and appointment reminders without you ever lifting a finger. You can completely automate the process and when you return, your calendar can be filled with appointments.
Keep in Touch
Over 40% of entrepreneurs stay in touch with the office on most vacation days and 29% contact their business every day, according to a recent Hudson survey by Rasmussen Reports. So it’s ok to stay in touch, just set limits. Consider one debriefing call each morning. Keep in mind that constantly contacting your staff can undermine their confidence and more importantly, it can lead to a perceived lack of trust on your part.
Remember, the emails will never stop and many emails may seem more urgent than what they truly are. If you’ve set up a good system before you leave, you should only have to look for true emergencies that demand your attention. If you find yourself itching to get some work done, set limits. Work while enroute — on the plane or for an hour in the morning or evening.
To better manage appointments when you're away (and even when you are in the office), consider an online scheduling software that automates the appointment setting process. vCita Online Scheduling creates an easy, automated way for clients to schedule appointments and even prepay for services anytime, anywhere using any Internet-enabled device. Plus, vCita automatically confirms appointments and sends reminders to help reduce no-shows. You're notified of any client inquiry or appointment by text or email, and your calendar is always in sync no matter where you are. You can rest assured while on vacation that your clients are being served even if you're lying on the beach asleep.
online scheduling software. Check out vCita Online Payments and Invoicing for a hassle-free invoice template and online payment process. And with a little planning, you can get away with no impact to your business. Then sit back and breathe.
Remember, you only have 13 days of vacation.