6 Summer Planning Tips for Small Business Owners
How to create balance and schedule around common summer concerns
When you run a small business, taking a vacation isn't as simple as asking your supervisor for a few weeks off. You have to do a lot of planning to make sure everything remains operational in your absence.
Because of this, many small business owners, including family child care professionals, housekeeping agencies and senior care professionals, don't take vacations. But they should -- the time off is a chance to relax and recharge.
"Getting away from structure and getting a break from it allows the small business owner to literally take a 'breather' and shift their thoughts from 'work' to 'play' mode," says Linda Jaros, the owner of The Life Breath Wellness Center, a small studio in Rhode Island.
Planning is everything when your livelihood depends on running your business. With that in mind, here are four tips for making a vacation happen this summer.
Recognize the Need for a BreakYou need to acknowledge that taking time off is important. Not just for your personal well being, mind you, but also for the success of your business in the long-term.You can't afford not to,says Jaros, explaining that physical and emotional issues can present themselves when your body doesn't get to rest and recover.
Develop a Vacation Plan for Yourself and Your EmployeesHave a team meeting to discuss vacation needs and your policy. Does everyone need to take separate breaks or do you all go at once and shut the business down for a week? Does it not matter as long as you can find backup well in advance? Discuss how much prep time you need for everyone and put it on a visual calendar.
Plan and Book your Trip Months OutThere's always going to be a reason not to go, so it's important to give yourself a reason not to stay. Plan your vacation well in advance and book your travel arrangements ahead of time. Then get it on your calendar. That way, you'll be more protective of your vacation and your clients and employees will be able to plan ahead to survive your absence.
Notify Your Clients Well in AdvanceIt doesn't matter what line of business you're in -- you have to tell your clients when you're planning on taking a vacation. And give them enough lead time to adjust accordingly. How far in advance you should let clients know depends on your individual relationships with them. However, at least a month is a good rule of thumb. This gives enough time to make alternate arrangements as needed.
Make Arrangements for BackupIf taking some time off means closing up shop, consider arranging backup services for your clients. They will likely appreciate that you went the extra mile and value your input about backup providers.
Make Yourself Accessible... Or Don't
Being available at least via email could be a good idea to maintain a positive relationship with your clients – and it might give you peace of mind, as well. After all, when the buck stops with you, it can be stressful to wonder if people are trying to get in touch to troubleshoot issues that might arise.
Of course, there is an argument for cutting yourself off from the world completely. A total, uninterrupted break from work can be good for the soul. If that's the route you want take, just make sure you've put a backup contact in place "to field matters" until you come back, suggests Mary White, CEO and Founder of BnBFinder.com.
Taking a time off is good for your health, as de-stressing can reduce blood pressure and increase energy, among other benefits. With that in mind, it might be best to not let another summer pass you by without taking (or making) some time for yourself. Your future health, happiness and success may depend on it.
Brenda Barron is a writer from southern California. When she's not typing at a frantic pace, she's spending time with her family, knitting, or watching Doctor Who, often all at once. Find out more about her here.
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