Next weekend, many Canadians will be closing up shop to spend time with their friends and family or take mini vacations. But if Canadian small business owners are anything like their cousins to the south, most of us won’t be taking off at all for the long weekend. A recent study by Manta says that 48% of small business owners in the US won’t be taking a vacation this summer. Do you fall in with that crowd?
Why We’re Reluctant for a Break
It’s no mystery why we work even when we shouldn’t. We think our businesses will fall apart without us. We think if we skip the vacation we’ll get ahead. Essentially, we surround ourselves with excuses that keep us from doing what we really need: getting away from that which consumes us: our business.
Why We Should Take One Anyway
It’s been proven that when we do disconnect (mentally and wirelessly) we’re better for it. I’ve proven it, for one. Whenever I take off from my business, despite my worries, nothing falls apart. And after I’ve had some time away from my company, I’m refreshed, reinvigorated, and ready for the next challenge. I often come back with new ideas I’m eager to implement.
If you have employees, you taking off gives them the opportunity to shine. Putting your faith in their ability to conduct business without you is something they need to feel that you trust them. They also look to you as a role model, so if you work 60 hours a week and don’t take vacations, they’ll feel compelled to do the same, which isn’t a good thing.
My Tips for Taking Off
It’s hard to imagine not checking your work email or getting a little work done while sitting around on the beach, but I encourage you to challenge yourself to do just that. If you set things up before you leave, your long weekend (or week or month off) will go smoothly. Don’t forget my tips to make it look like you’re in the office, even when you’re not.
- Designate a point person. Who will be responsible in your absence?
- Go over any and all pertinent tasks this person should handle while you’re gone.
- Let people know. Employees, clients, vendors.
- Set up your email and voicemail with a vacation message. State your return date.
- Don’t be available. People respect that you’re on vacation, so don’t check your email.
- Get some perspective. Take this time to reflect on the bigger picture. What direction do you want to take your business next?
- Enjoy your family. This is a rare opportunity for them to get you away from work.
I’ll stress #6: if you’re busy working “in” your business rather than “on” it (check Michael Gerber’s E-Myth for the reference), going on vacation is the perfect opportunity for you to think more about bigger picture strategy. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s written two books: 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and has blogged for several sites, including The Marketing Eggspert Blog, as well as Mashable, Small Business Trends, CorpNet and Lead411. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.
Photo: twicepix on Flickr