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Want To Get Away? How Small Business Owners Can Enjoy Their Vacation

While many employees are submitting holiday vacation requests to their boss, small business owners don’t have this luxury. Instead, entrepreneurs must juggle the demands of their business alongside the holiday season’s activities and obligations.

According to a survey released by the Marriott Rewards Premier Business credit card, just 25 percent of small business owners that took vacations were able to completely unwind. However, two-thirds of small business owners think taking a personal vacation benefits their business in some way, including improved focus, creativity, and motivation.

“While small business owners enjoy making their own schedule and being their own boss, they often miss out on perks such as guaranteed paid time off,” said Vibhat Nair, General Manager at Chase Card Services. “As some of the most dedicated workers in the country, small business owners deserve a break and this survey shows they are finding time off while traveling for business.”

So, is it actually possible for a small business owner to take a stress-free vacation?

Absolutely, if you follow these tips.

small business take a vacation

Prioritize Time Off

The first step for small business owners wanting to take time off is to prioritize it. This may sound simple but, like any other business related tasks, if it isn’t on your “to-do” list, you’re probably not going to do it.

So, how can you convince yourself to make a vacation a priority? Remind yourself that vacations are good for your health since time off is known to reduce stress and stave off a heart attack. Vacations are also good for your personal life. Especially around the holidays, spending time with family and friends is an important part of a well-rounded life.

But the benefits extend beyond personal and health reasons. Vacations can make you a better business owner since getting away can spark creativity and increase your productivity.

Pick a Slow Time

If your business is seasonal, then this is a no-brainer. For example, I have friends who run an ice cream business at the beach. They’re extremely busy from May through October, but they have plenty of down time in the winter. This is when they go on vacation.

Other industries, especially B2B businesses, may see a slow time during the holidays between Christmas and New Years. Pay close attention to your operations and pick the best time to plan a vacation when your business is experiencing slow spells.

Weigh Your Options

When you do decide that it’s time to head out of town for a much-needed vacation, you have three options.

  1. Close up shop. This means shutting your business down completely. For my friends who run the ice cream shop, their business is closed from October to April. Not all businesses can afford to shut for this long, but it’s not uncommon to shut down for a week or so every year. The downside is that there is zero income while your business is closed, but you don’t have to worry about anything operational during this time either.
  2. Take your business with you. Thanks to mobile technology you can take your business with you. This may not be feasible for all businesses, but you can still answer the phone, respond to emails, and handle tasks that can be done on your computer. This can keep money flowing in, but might not feel like as much of a vacation. Here’s a travel checklist if you want to take your business with you.
  3. Find replacement management. If you want to enjoy your vacation while still making money, this is probably your best option. Just make sure that you pick someone that you can trust to run your business effectively and efficiently.

Find the best option that best fits your business. An accountant, for example, could go with any option, but a mechanic can obviously only chose between closing the shop or finding a replacement.

Bonus Tip: Look for ways to build “passive streams” of income, such as selling digital content, running an eCommerce store, or becoming part of a referral or affiliate program. This way you can keep making money even when you’re away.

Prepare, Delegate & Automate

If you really want to have an enjoyable and stress-free vacation, then you need to prepare your customers and your employees for your upcoming absence.

If you have individual clients that work with you directly, then notify them in advance so that they know that you’ll be unavailable. If there’s a pressing matter, tie up those loose ends before you leave. Try not to schedule anything to go “live” during or right before you leave, like a marketing campaign or new website. You don’t want to have to take care of any hiccups while on the plane or when you’re exploring Disney with your kids.

You should also give your clients the contact information for your replacement. This way, if they have an emergency they know that there will be someone there to handle the situation.

If you have a team underneath you, then delegate work to them with specified directions and next steps. This keeps them on track and also gives them the chance to take on new work and responsibilities.

small business stay connected while on vacation

Lastly, don’t forget to embrace technology. These days you can let technology do the work for you. Automation tools let you provide personalized customer service, handle accounting and billing, manage your email and social media, and schedule meetings. With VoIP phone systems like Ooma you can check your voicemail or receive calls on your smartphone while you’re away.

Unplug, But Schedule Check-Ins

Completely unplugging may be the goal, but that’s not always going to happen. Instead, limit interruptions and let yourself unplug at specific times. If you’re worried about your business then schedule a couple work check-ins. For example, inform your staff and clients that you’ll only be available from 7 to 8:30 am – or whatever time works best for you. Also, let them know that you will check emails again later in the afternoon. This way you’re still connected, but you have the chance to unplug by leaving your phone behind.

Get Back in the Groove

When returning from your vacation, try to keep your schedule as light as possible for the first few days. This gives you the chance to catch up on what’s been happening, readjust to your time zone if you traveled overseas, and to devise a plan for any new ideas that you thought about while away.


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Ken Narita

Ken Narita’s marketing career spans two decades helping businesses large and small grow. Whether it’s been advising emerging startups, guiding clients from the agency side, or currently, leading SMB marketing at Ooma, Ken has always taken an empathetic approach to addressing goals, gaps, and opportunities. Previously at TriNet, from 2011 to 2017, he grew and led the revenue marketing team through a period of rapid change and growth where net service revenue consistently grew in a range of 15-20% per year and reached $650 million at the end of his tenure. Ken has led demand generation, field marketing, customer marketing, and marketing operations teams and enjoys the ability to integrate campaigns across all functions to drive results.

1 Comment

  1. Sunaina
    November 29, 2017    

    This is one of the best and useful business ideas.
    Keep sharing with us.

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