The winter holidays are fast approaching. But it likely won’t be a holiday for many small-business owners.
After years of consulting with business owners and running my own businesses, one thing I know for sure is that it can be virtually impossible to get the captain to take a break from the helm -- and go on a real vacation.
There’s too much worry about an iceberg over the horizon, or at the very least vacationing seems a “waste” of money.
Let me give you some straight talk: A little bit of vacationing is actually critical for your success and even survival.
Reagan had his ranch, and Obama has Hawaii. If people whose responsibilities include possibly going to war decide they need to recharge their batteries, perhaps you do, too.
Down time gives you a chance to reconnect with your family and rediscover what is truly important in life. They deserve it, they need it, and you need to give it to them.
Related: Six Signs You Need a Break From the Startup Grind
And as you’re napping on the beach, you might have a chance to think, create, dream and envision your business’s future. Such things are so essential, yet so impossible during the daily grind of work and home.
And don’t think taking a few days off work to putter around the house is a vacation. It isn’t.
Think tropical paradise. Think skiing. Think the cabin. You -- and your family -- will be grateful.
Here are the things you need to do to truly take off time from the business:
- Trust your employees. I know. I know. “When the cat’s away, the mice will play.” But if you can’t trust your employees when you’re away, you have greater problems than needing a vacation. Let your employees know that this is an opportunity for them to demonstrate they can do it without you watching and managing their every move.
- Disconnect. No calls every morning and afternoon to check up on what's happening and issue directives. No checking on results later at the end of the day. Also, tell your workers that no emergency calls are allowed. Let them figure it out. There are never any real emergencies. That’s what insurance is for.
- No business networking. No calls to clients, and no prospecting. If you need to have a “business lunch” in order to gain a tax write-off, make it with an associate who is a friend, and keep the business talk to five sentences minimum. Otherwise, have fun.
- Keep family first. Give your full and complete attention to your family and your vacation, and budget for it so you can have the money needed to make this successful. Be generous this one week. This is the time to make it up to the family for those late nights at the office -- not remind them of it.
- Have fun. It is this strange idea to some entrepreneurs, this concept of actually doing something enjoyable that is not related to making more money. But this is an important part of living successfully.
Remember to leave it alone and let it go. Remember also that your business and your employees probably need a vacation from you.
Consider it necessary medicine, good medicine for you, your business and your family. When you return to work, you will find everything went just fine, and you will be recharged and ready to go.