Last Upt: May 15, 2018
For small business owners, taking a vacation – at least one where you don’t spend the whole time tether to your smart phone or computer – may seem nearly impossible. Here’s what you ne to do so you can relax and enjoy the time away from your business.

Running a business? Think you can’t get away for vacation? Or do you worry that if you do go on vacation you’ll ne to spend hours hunch over your laptop in your hotel room or take endless business calls while you’re on the beach or seeing? All, while your family fumes at your inability to leave work at home?

You’re not alone. According to a study publish by Ondeck Capital, only 57% of small business owners n to take a vacation. Furthermore, a 2014 report publish by ADT found that 55% of small business owners never travel without their phone so that they can check in on the business while they’re on vacation.

The key to making your pleasure trip a real pleasure, is to prepare customers and your employees for your absence.

If you have individual clients that work with you, personally (rather than with any of your employees), alert them in advance to your vacation schule and that you will be unavailable to do their work during your vacation.

If you have clients who tend to procrastinate, tell them you’re going to leave (or be will be unavailable) ing several ys before you actually to leave for vacation.  That way, you won’t have to deal with their last minute requests when you want to be packing and getting ready to leave.

RELAT: 12 Simple Steps Business Owners Can Take to Avoid Burnout

Tell them you’ll be back at work two or three ys after you actually get back, too. Doing so will give you time to catch up and get back in the swing of things before dealing with clients and new issues.

Don’t schule anything to go “live” (i.e., a new website, a major website resign, big mailing, big ad campaign) right before you leave or while you’re away. The reason: you don’t want to be dealing with last minute or mistakes as you’re about to get on the e, or when the family is waiting for you to get in the car so you can exploring the national park you chose to visit.

Be sure you have all your important contacts and their phone numbers in a single file on your computer and/or the phone you take with you. It can be helpful to have a paper copy, too, in case your electronic device breaks or is stolen. Having this list readily available will save time if you ne to contact any of these people to handle an emergency while you’re away.

For peace of mind, take paper copies of your boarding passes, car, hotel and tour reservations, and any other details of your itinerary. Sometimes referring to a piece of paper is just quicker and easier than finding an address and phone number on your phone or computer. For convenience and quick access, stack the documents in a small folder in the order you’ll use them, and keep it in your purse or carry-on. That way if your phone battery dies, you can still board the e or get to your hotel without hassle.  

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Over the years I’ve learn that if there’s anything in your office that could possibly break down or go wrong, it will do so while you’re away. If the office Internet connection is going to go out, it will happen when you’re gone. If your website is going to go down, it will do so while you’re away. Par for the course, are equipment breakdowns, shipping snafus that anger your biggest customer, and just about anything else that demands urgent attention.

A number of years ago, for example, I was in Arizona on a business trip when I got a call from one of my employees telling me that a lot of water was leaking from the ceiling onto her desk. But, it wasn’t raining outside. The desktop computer tower under the desk was right below the leak on the desktop. I had her turn off and unplug the computer (fortunately it hadn’t gotten wet yet), and then call the building manager. The problem turn out to be an issue with an air conditioning duct that ran through the ceiling above her desk.

After that incident, I made sure my employees had a list telling them how to handle various and emergencies when I wasn’t available.

On the list were things like:

I assign responsibility for handling to one employee, but let the others know that if that person was out of the office, they could and should handle any that ne immiate attention.

In addition to that list, I made sure that outside resources we regularly use for programming and hosting knew each other’s name and contact info so they could work together to fix any emergencies situations without me having to give them the go-ahead.

To avoid having employees send me mulle emails every y, I told them what kinds of things I want to be notifi about and when. Unless there was a really urgent and important matter, I ask them to send me one email at the end of the y briefly summing up anything I ne to know about before I got back. Everything else was to be print and put on my desk for my attention when I return.

All the advanc ning in the world won’t help if you allow yourself to be suck into work on your small business every y. To avoid that, set a time of y and a time limit for checking in on the business. Choose a time of y when you’re likely to be just hanging around the hotel room anyway – say a half-hour early in the morning and perhaps another 45 minutes in the evening when you return from dinner or evening activities.

If you can possibly avoid it, do not call forward your business line to your cell phone. Have employees pick up your calls for you, or use a VOIP service provider like Grasshopper or RingCentral to capture and retrieve voice mail messages. If you use a virtual office, use their voice answering service if one is available.

If at all possible, avoid sending or receiving contracts or other important fs while you’re away. You want to be able to read and review them in detail, not while you’re rushing to get out the door to get on the tour bus.

RELATSafety Tips for SOHO Travelers

Don’t spend time posting to or reading social mia accounts while you’re gone. If posting to social mia is part of your ily business routine, create and queue up the posts in advance with a tool like Hootsuite, or have a virtual assistant or employee create and post them for you.  Save those great photos you took (like the one I took above a the Big Sur) to post when you return. Posting vacation shots saying “we’re have a great time here” could make your home a target for burglars.

Finally, remember, the less time you spend connect to your business while you’re away, the more you’ll enjoy your vacation and benefit from it. 

© 2018 Attard s, Inc. All Rights Reserv. May not be reproduc, reprint or ristribut without written permission from Attard s, Inc.

About the author:
Janet Attard is the founder of the award-winning  Business Know-How small business web site and information resource. Janet is also the author of The Home Office And Small Business Answer Book and of Business Know-How: An Operational Guide For Home-Bas and Micro-Siz Businesses with Limit Budgets.  Follow Janet on Twitter and on LinkedIn

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