By Anh-Minh Le
Now that Halloween is behind us, Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching and they usually bring some (well-deserved) time off from work. For those who own their own business, the idea of a vacation can actually cause more feelings of anxiety than relaxation. With some advance preparation, you can help minimize any disruptions for your customers and enjoy a real break.
Develop a plan for yourself and any employees. If you’re a one-person show, decide ahead of time how you want to handle customer communications. For instance, set aside 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening to check work-related calls and emails—and stick to the schedule (or else you risk working too much while on vacation).
If you have employees, discuss who will be your back-up and handle some of your responsibilities while you’re away. Think about the typical work scenarios—the types of requests and emergencies that your business often deals with—and come up with a plan for addressing each.
Notify regular clients of your vacation dates in advance. That way, they aren’t concerned when they try to reach you, and you aren’t returning their calls or emails as quickly as you normally do. And giving them a heads-up is a courteous step that will only improve your professional reputation and relationship.
Make a to-do list for your return. After a vacation, it can be hard to get back into work mode again. Having a list of priorities completed before you go can make the adjustment easier. It’s one less thing to think about when you’re at work again!
Take care of administrative tasks before you go. For example, make sure your bills are paid and that you’re up to date on invoicing your customers. If you owe a customer an estimate, get that out before your vacation. (Wouldn’t it be nice to gain new business while you’re gone?)
Just do it. Even if it’s just an extra-long weekend or the destination is only a few hours away, vacations can do wonders to relieve stress, as well refresh and recharge—which will hopefully help your business in the long run.