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Why You Need a Vacation From Your Business— And How to Make It Happen

Take a vacation from your business. Vacations are critical for resetting and recharging. Review tips for how to actually take a vacation via Fresh Insights.

This week officially marks the beginning of summer, though it has felt like summer for at least the past month. But for most small business owners, these are anything but the “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.”
The fact is, small business owners are notorious for not taking some much-needed time off in the summer. Many feel they can’t afford to leave their business for any length of time — if they do, they’re afraid things might fall apart while they’re gone.
As hard as it might be, though, you should make plans to take a real vacation this summer. And not just a few days cooped up in a hotel staring at your laptop and smart phone. Here are five suggestions to help you break away from your business for some well-deserved vacation time:
1. Get Prepared
Start by making sure bills are paid, all obligations to financial institutions are met and all big project due-dates are far enough down the road. Next, draft an email to clients well in advance which contains dates, emergency contact numbers, along with the name and contact information of a next-in-command. Send this email again as the date gets closer. Set up an automatic out-of-office reply to notify any customers who missed the first two emails. Finally, create a specific plan of action with staff to handle customer concerns.
2. Get Ready for Return
Coming back from vacation often provides a 'charged up' feeling along with the drive to innovate. Don't let this go to waste: Make a list of projects to complete as soon as the vacation is over. This way, any leftover energy from a trip is effectively channeled into work instead of looking for specific tasks to complete.
Planning out a return also makes getting overwhelmed less likely. Chances are there will be things that didn't go according to plan or fires that have to be put out—without other projects to drive a return to work, it's easy to get stressed all over again.
3. Train Staff Well
Many owners see taking a vacation from work as a luxury they can't afford because they're the only ones who know the ins and outs of the business well enough to keep it running.   By choosing an employee to be groomed for succession, you will have someone with the skill set to eventually take over the business with the right training.
Before leaving, train this primary staff member on how to complete 90 to 95 percent of all business tasks—and make sure the last five percent don't need to be completed until the vacation is over. Next, hold a meeting with all staff and outline what's expected and who's in charge. Be very clear about this transfer of authority to prevent any power struggles or conflicts of interest. Also make sure to designate a back-up manager in case the go-to staff member falls ill or can't make it work.
4. Choose Check-in Times
Some business owners prefer to go completely radio silent on vacation. If so, make sure this is clearly communicated to staff. Most prefer to get in touch at least once per day—the best bet here is to choose an hour each day and keep that time consistent throughout the vacation. During that hour be ready to answer emails, check-in with staff and field important client phone calls. When time is up put away smartphones, laptops and any other business devices until the next day.
5. Consider Doing Both
For some business owners, taking a vacation from work means taking work with them. Working from anywhere is easier than ever thanks to high-speed Internet connections, wireless hotspots and mobile devices, but a 'little bit' of work can quickly turn into days spent in the hotel and coming home just as stressed. To work and play on vacation, choose either morning or evening to completely focus on the business. Once the 'workday' has ended, make sure vacation-related activities are planned so work can't intrude.
Not sure how to take a vacation from work? With pre-planning, preparation for return, staff training and designated work check-ins, it's possible to run a business and relax.
For more tips and helpful information about running your business, whether you’re in the office or on vacation, visit Cadence Bank Fresh Insights.
This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.

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