Everybody needs a vacation sometimes. But if you’re a small business owner, going on vacation can be more nerve-wracking than restful.
You might feel like things are going to fall apart in your absence. What if something goes wrong and none of your employees can deal with it?
First of all, relax – everything is going to be fine. If your team is capable and you prepare well beforehand, you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation without constantly worrying about work. You might never feel completely comfortable leaving your business behind, but taking a break is important for your mental health, so go ahead and book that flight.
After that, use these seven tips to keep your business running smoothly while you’re away.
1. Plan ahead.
If you leave on short notice, you’ll send your team into a tailspin, and you’ll probably spend your whole vacation worrying. Avoid this by giving yourself (and your employees) at least two months to prepare for your trip. Here’s what to do during that time:
- Fill your employees in on your plans. Let them know when you’re leaving, how long you’ll be gone, and what you’ll need them to do while you’re away.
- Review your calendar. Make sure no big marketing campaigns or releases are scheduled to happen while you’re on vacation. Try to arrange things so your employees only have to handle normal operations while you’re gone.
- Work as far ahead as you can. If you push yourself now, you’ll be able to relax more easily during your trip.
2. Let your clients know you’ll be away.
Give your clients advance warning that you won’t be available while you’re on vacation. Ask them if they need any important work done before you leave, and work ahead to ensure their projects are squared away in advance. The last thing you want is a looming deadline ruining your peace of mind when you’re trying to enjoy the sun and surf.
It’s also a good idea to designate one of your team members as your business’ main point of contact while you’re away. Let your clients know they can get in touch with this person if something comes up while you’re gone.
3. Leave clear instructions for your employees.
Communicate with your team to make sure they’re prepared before you leave. Make sure everybody knows what they’re supposed to do and how you want them to do it. It’s smart to cross-train your employees, so if one person can’t handle a task for some reason, somebody else can cover for them.
If you’ve never left your employees in charge of your business before, consider creating a set of written instructions for them. Specify tasks that need to be done every day, routines and protocols to follow, and any other details you want your employees to remember. This will boost your employees’ confidence (and put your mind at ease, too).
4. Schedule your marketing ahead of time.
No need to blog from the beach. Marketing automation can keep your social media accounts, blog, and email campaigns active with no effort required from you. Take some time to create and schedule your posts in advance. While you’re at it, create an out-of-office vacation message for your work email, so people know when they can expect a reply from you.
5. Make a check-in plan.
Will you be checking your email every day, or are you trying to unplug completely on vacation? Decide ahead of time how connected you want to be during your trip, and let your employees know how often they can expect to hear from you. It’s a good idea to touch base with your team at least once or twice while you’re away, just for your own peace of mind.
6. Talk with your team about how to handle emergencies.
An emergency probably isn’t going to happen while you’re gone. After all, you’ve built a solid business and trained your employees well. But unforeseen events do happen sometimes, so make sure your team knows what to do if something goes wrong. Discuss various worst-case scenarios before you leave, and help your team come up with a plan for handling each of them.
If you’re not planning on checking your email every day during your vacation, make sure your team has some way of reaching you. Phone calls, text messages, or an emergency email address are all good options.
Your business is going to be okay while you’re gone, so take a deep breath and enjoy your well-deserved downtime. Unplug as much as you’re comfortable with, and whatever you do, don’t spend your whole trip checking your email. Relaxing on vacation will make you more refreshed, focused, and creative when you come back.