HOW TO PREPARE YOUR BUSINESS FOR YOUR VACATION September 26, 2023 | Business Tips , Social Media , Franchise | small business , time management , motivation , entrepreneur , email marketing , digital marketing By Michael Trimble, NPI, Inc.'s Content Marketing Coordinator Small business owners take so much pride in their work, it can be hard to take even a short break. The risk of losing momentum, missing out on business, and potentially damaging valuable relationships keep small business owners from taking a vacation–some go years and years without a break. While these concerns are valid, many may not realize that they are missing out on a necessary reset by forgoing an extended holiday. The truth is everyone needs a physical and emotional break from their work. Plus, new experiences and a broader perspective can provide much-needed creative energy to entrepreneurs. If you’re nervous about how to handle an upcoming vacation, here are a few actions you can take to ensure your break goes off without a hitch! Notify Your Clients (and Share Your Experience!) If you are your only employee, vacations mean that your business can’t do much without you. To keep any consistent referral sources or clients from being surprised, it can be smart to send out a notification in advance. Whether through an email blast or a few phone calls to associates with established relationships, offering a heads up is sure to be appreciated. This considerate action is just another opportunity to keep your business at the top of your referral sources’ minds. While away, it will also be important to have a clear communication system in place. If you don’t have employees to answer phones or operate the business with a skeleton crew in the meantime, be sure to set an out-of-office email auto-response with an emergency contact. Odds are good that if something catastrophic should happen, it will wait until you’re out of the country (a variation of Murphy’s Law), so although it may be preferable to completely walk away from work, it might also be a good idea to check your work email once a day. If internet and phone access will be spotty or too inconvenient while you’re away, you should at least leave your corporate office’s contact information (if part of a franchise). Frustration sets in if expectations aren’t met or getting in touch becomes too difficult. Most will be understanding if they are aware of a clear return date, or they trust that you will keep to an agreed-upon deadline. On returning, it might be a good idea to share your vacation experience on social media, and maybe share how that time has energized you or inspired you in your business! Curious souls will want to hear more, and you might even book some new business as a result. Delegate and Automate What You Can Planning a vacation is much easier with an experienced team prepared to step up while you’re gone. As is often the case, the issue here frequently sits with the small business owner and their lack of trust for their employees. Long-time assistants might be more than willing to take over during a leave of absence, but owners who have built their business tend to have trouble letting go of responsibilities. The truth is that vacations are an excellent opportunity to challenge your employees–and yourself! Employees can rise to the occasion, attempt to perform new jobs, then fail and learn so that they become even more valuable to the business down the road. As we've discussed previously , employees love to be challenged, and many become frustrated if they don’t feel that they are acquiring new skills. Leaving your business in someone else’s hands shows an incredible amount of trust and respect–things that your employees will certainly notice and appreciate. If your business isn’t quite at the multiple employee stage yet, it’s important to find ways to function as much as possible while you’re away. Schedule social media posts out in advance, and maybe plan a unique email campaign to launch while you’re catching a wave. Working in advance can mean new business is waiting when you return, or it will at least ensure your online presence doesn’t drop off. Just Take a Vacation! (Even a Short One) In the end, preparation and theory can only go so far. The best way to understand what your unique small business needs while you’re away is to simply make that commitment, book that ticket, and see what happens. Make note of what went well, whether your communication plans were strong, or if the processes and information you gave your employees were sufficient. Everything is clearer in hindsight, and sometimes the best way to learn is to fail, then do better in the future. To minimize problems, consider planning a shorter vacation first since issues that appear over a couple days will be more easily resolved than larger project mishaps. Even brief outings devoted to spending extra time with family or friends will be invaluable to a business owner’s long-term health and happiness. There will always be excuses to wait until next month, or next year. Allow your team and your business to grow while looking after yourself by planning your next vacation wisely. National Property Inspections is built off of over 35 years of industry experience. If you are interested to hear more about what we’ve learned makes a successful home inspection business, start with our free info packet . Questions? Talk to our recruitment team ! About the Author Michael Trimble, Content Marketing Coordinator A graduate of the University of South Dakota, Michael has a B.A. in International Studies and English. With a background in research and writing, Michael contributes to NPI’s corporate marketing team as a copywriter and content strategist.