Vacation trips are important for the health and well-being of small business owners. Owning your own business can be stressful and time-consuming, and taking a nice trip to reconnect with family can help you destress. While a stress-free vacation is important, it can often be put on the back burner because it is difficult to neglect work and clients if you are the one in charge. With a little planning and helpful employees, however, even the busiest small business owner should be able to take a few days off to travel. Here are three important steps that all small business owners should take before traveling.
Prepare Your Staff
Your most helpful lifeline when on vacation will be your staff. Before you even start planning a vacation, you should analyze how your office runs and how your staff works together. If they do not seem to be productive or organized in your presence, things will probably only get worse once you leave for vacation. Solving your staff issues and making sure each office position is filled with a dedicated, reliable and organized individual will help you immensely while you are traveling.
Once you know you can count on your staff to run your business efficiently while you are gone, you will need to prepare them for what they may encounter. Emergencies and surprises are usually avoidable, as long as you have taken the time to prepare your staff for everything that may arise in your absence. Creating an office manual that includes rules, procedures and regulations can also help staff members to keep each other in line and know how to proceed in every situation.
Prepare Your Clients
The last thing you want to do is lose clients while you are enjoying a little time off to recharge. If you have scheduled appointments with clients for the days that you are gone, or you have important clients who contact you on a regular basis, give them a heads-up regarding your upcoming trip. This will allow you and your clients to deal with any unfinished business before you leave.
Before traveling, small business owners should also have a chat with their staff about responsibilities. An office always runs more smoothly when one person is in charge of making decisions. Establishing the "boss" of the office while you are gone can eliminate miscommunication and misunderstandings between staff members when you are away. This will also help clients know who to contact if they need answers while you are on vacation. Simply notify your clients about who to get in touch with prior to your trip.
Even if you have confidence in your staff and their ability to handle your clients while you are away, it can be difficult to enjoy yourself while you are off traveling. However, it is important to focus on relaxation and disconnecting from work so that you can properly recharge and come back to the office revitalized. Relying on your staff and the procedures you have implemented is key to enjoying your time away from the office.
If you feel you must check in on your business from time to time, schedule no more than two short sessions, during which you can check your voicemail and inbox. You may find it best to check your emails and touch base with staff members first thing in the morning, before you start your day. If you feel the need, you may also want to check back in before the end of the business day at the office. This will ensure that your staff members do not continue on with urgent questions left unanswered. If you trust your staff members to handle any client concerns or office emergencies, then stick to this schedule and do not exceed your check-ins. As mentioned before, focusing on relaxing and enjoying your vacation is the most important thing you can do as a small business owner.