Many people are angling for a vacation this summer. In fact, one recent survey found that two-thirds of Americans say they “desperately” need one.
For entrepreneurs, though, breaking away from the business for a couple of days—much less a week—can be a challenge. We asked business owners for their top advice for taking a much-needed break. Here’s how they responded:
Appoint a back-up
I own two businesses—a yoga studio and a marketing agency. My number one tip: Always have a back-up. Appoint someone at your business who can most easily fill in for you to handle anything that crops up while you’re away and contact you only if there’s a question. A lower-level person won’t cut it.
—Lisa Munjack, president, Munjack Marketing, Verona, New Jersey
Keep clients in the loop
Clearly communicating vacation plans to clients is key. I use the online scheduling tool Calendly, which syncs up with my Google and Outlook calendars. This way, clients are not able to schedule any time with me during times I’ve blocked off for a vacation. If I’m working with a client on a longer engagement, I will mention any date conflicts they should be aware of. I also send reminders to clients as the vacation date nears.
—Vanessa Zamy, founder, Your Vision’s Catalyst, Boston
Prepare your staff
As the owner of a business, it’s tough to completely disconnect. But if you book your vacation far enough in advance, you can make sure you have enough staff to take care of what’s needed. Before leaving for a vacation, I have a meeting with my staff and let them know what their responsibilities are while I’m gone. If possible, I set up specific times while I’m away to review any issues to make sure everything is running smoothly and let them know I’m available for emergencies or consultations if absolutely necessary.
—Alan Katz, owner and presiding officiant, Great Officiants, Long Beach, California
Hire a virtual assistant
My best tip is to engage a virtual assistant to manage your inbox, answer calls and handle any recurring tasks while you’re away. I used to do this on a one-off basis each time I was going on vacation and would set clear parameters on when they should contact me for urgent matters and who else within our company to contact if they couldn’t resolve something themselves. I’ve had so much success with this that I actually hired a full-time virtual assistant for our executive team last year.
—John Ross, founder, Test Prep Insight, Reno, Nevada
Maximize your technology features
Some technologies can make it easier to stay connected to your team while away but be alerted only if an urgent need arises. Platforms such as HubSpot, for example, let you create “tickets” for customer issues that will only be elevated to reach the business owner if they really need to be involved. Slack, the messaging platform, lets you change your settings so you can indicate you’re on vacation and not available unless in an emergency.
—Bernie Cobb, owner, Cobb HR Solutions, Auburndale, Florida
“Some technologies can make it easier to stay connected to your team while away but be alerted only if an urgent need arises.”
Going on vacation means a chance to totally relax. No phone, no emails, no worries. The only way for us to achieve this state of mind is to close the entire company for as long as we take a vacation. We do this once a year, and it gives all of our employees a chance to take a vacation or have time off, too.
—Matthew Meier, founder, MaxTour, Las Vegas
How do you manage to take a break from your business? Share your insights in the comments section below!Print this article