With summer officially here and the Fourth of July holiday approaching, many small business owners are getting ready for vacation. Recent survey data from the OPEN Small Business Network 2004 Semi-Annual Monitor from American Express provides insight into small business owners' summer vacation plans. For those who find it difficult to get away, the OPEN Network shares helpful tips.
Since many business owners find it difficult to put their minds at ease while spending a significant amount of time away, Alice Bredin, the OPEN Network's Small Business Advisor, offers tips to business owners that may lead to a more relaxing vacation:
- Schedule Breaks During Business Downtimes: Consider planning time away this summer when your business may be slowest -- or the least hectic. If your business is seasonal, consider vacationing during the off-season.
- Budget Your Workload: Figure out what needs to be done before you leave, and build this extra work into the days or weeks leading up to your vacation. By leaving with a "clean plate," you can reduce your anxiety about taking a break.
- Do Worst-Case Planning: Prepare a list of possible scenarios on current projects, and brief colleagues. What are the chief concerns for each client? What is the worst thing that can happen? This kind of planning means that your clients will be well managed should a problem arise.
- Brief Key Clients or Customers: Give them a minimum of two to three weeks' notice about your pending absence. Identify your stand-ins, and communicate your confidence in the ability of staff or a stand-in to help them should a problem arise.
- Learn Something New: For business owners who are uncomfortable taking off for an extended period, enrolling in continuing education courses can be a low-cost and effective way to break the monotony of work. Focus on activities that require participation, like cooking, repair work, or sailing.
- Become a Tourist in Your Hometown: Look into the exhibits that are currently showing at your local museum. Invite a friend or loved one for an afternoon tour, and then visit an historic landmark or treat yourself to a massage. You could also check into a local hotel to enjoy a peaceful night away.
- Take A Day Trip: Looking for a quick way to recharge? Get out of town for just a day -- a quick escape with a change of scenery can do wonders. Plus, you will think twice about sneaking back to the office if it requires you to drive for a couple of hours to get there.