from National Federation of Independent Business
By Karen Sams
Taking a break can be one of the hardest parts of owning a small business. Here’s how to plan ahead for a worry-free vacation.
Taking time to relax and unplug is crucial for small business owners, but it can be difficult to step away. Having a plan in place for when you’re on vacation from your business is also an important test of your leadership and organizational structure. These tips will help you ensure that your business can keep running when you’re away.
Planning for your absence starts long before your vacation. Begin with a clear chain of command. “It needs to be very clear who is in charge while you are gone. There can’t be factions or insubordination,” says Jan Bednar, CEO of ShipMonk in Pompano Beach, Florida.
Schedule your trip in advance to give your team time to prepare, and give clients time so you can meet their needs in advance. “Adding ‘Please note, I will be out the week of X’ is helpful,” says Christy Lamagna, owner of Strategic Meetings & Events in New York City. “I add that to my email signature a month prior to leaving. I also add it to my outgoing voicemail as reinforcement.”
Set clear boundaries for issues that require immediate attention, and provide your team with a way to communicate to you that an issue cannot wait. “Ask your clients and employees to put ‘urgent’ in the subject line of their emails if something can’t wait until you return,” says Brandon Latack, president of 651 Lab in St. Paul, Minnesota. “This will help you sift through emails much faster so you can get back to your vacation.”