How to Take a Holiday Break as a Small Business Owner

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Everyone deserves a break, especially those who work hard trying to a get a business off the ground.

A recent survey found that three quarters (76%) of small business owners and entrepreneurs skip their holidays in order to keep their business running smoothly.

But while there may never be a good time to take a holiday when you’re the boss, entrepreneur Lara Morgan says time out can benefit your business. She sold her business (Pacific Direct) in 2008 and now invests her time in small, high growth ventures.

“After I failed to sell my company in 2004 I took a three week holiday without phone or email access,” she says. “It turned out to be a much-needed opportunity to plan and reflect on the business, and it paid dividends because I sold the firm happily four years later.”

“If, after three years, you can’t leave your business alone, then you’re doing something wrong,” he says. “It’s empowering for my team to know that they’re trusted to make the right decisions – without me ringing in every day to see what everyone’s up to – and it’s great to see my business carry on as normal when I’m not there. That’s how I know I have a successful business,” he explains. “That said, I’d never go on holiday without phone coverage.”

Making Vacation Work for You

Careful planning makes holidays workable, agrees Dawn Baird, of training consultancy Sensei. She says procedures should already be in place to ensure the walls stay standing when you take a holiday. That includes identifying potential problems before you go, and setting out clearly the circumstances under which an emergency phone call may be made. “If you truly want to get away from it all, appoint someone to act on your behalf in your absence,” she adds.

 “Automating key tasks gives you the confidence to step away from your desk without worrying about work piling up while you’re away,” says Matt Perkins, head of SME engagement at FreeAgent, which provides cloud accounting for freelancers, contractors, and micro-businesses. He recommends using an automatic email responder and a tool such as Hootsuite to schedule social media posts. You can also set up email reminders to chase outstanding invoices while you’re away.

Tom Horigan, director of the eponymous professional services marketing firm, agrees that technology is key to balancing business ownership with down time. “I just spent two weeks in Australia but only told one client I was going away; the others I serviced remotely via email or telephone,” he explains. “I checked voicemail by dialing in rather than paying for roaming, and purchased pocket Wi-Fi for when access was unreliable.”

Vacation Can Sometimes Boost Business Performance

What if – instead of ascribing to the notion that the fewer holidays we take, the more successful we’ll be – we reframed holidays as good for business, wonders Col Skinner, of digital consultancy Profoundry.

Charlotte Ashton, managing director of AB Property Marketing, agrees that owning a business need not mean skipping holidays, but says it could change your vacation priorities.

While she used to have a “total work detox” – a fortnight with no phone, email or stress – now her key criteria for a holiday includes thinking about when the rest of the team are going to be in the office to cover any queries, what public holidays she can take advantage of to get extra days, upcoming work trips she can piggy-back a holiday onto to save travel time, which locations will definitely have Wi-Fi, and which time zones ensure some crossover hours with her office.

Looking for ways to run your business away from the office? Experienced business consultants like Williams and Kunkel, CPA, LLP, CPAs can help you find ways to run a successful business and take much-deserved vacation time, so call us today at 972-446-1040.

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Source: The Guardian


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