Summer is here, and you know what that means -- warm weather, grilling, and every entrepreneur’s favorite (or most hated) “V” word: vacation.
While most jump at the opportunity to get away, there are some business owners who misunderstand the value of vacation time. Fresh entrepreneurs must realize that, although a vacation can be a time to get away and unplug, it can also be a time where the best business deals are done. As a serial entrepreneur, here are my five top ways I use vacation time to the fullest:
1. Network. This is the perfect time to reach out and meet people. Realize that other executives, business owners, entrepreneurs and other c-suite leaders have taken time off, too. Some of the best relationships I have struck up -- and have lead to some of the best businesses deals I’ve ever seen -- have been done during my vacation time.
Don’t limit yourself to networking events, either. When you’re traveling, the perfect opportunity is sitting right next to you on the plane! Use those opportunities, the ones you don’t normally think of, to find new ways of doing business.
2. Thinking time. Vacation is a good time for you to sit back and think about the business and what’s important to it. Ask yourself: what is important to you? Your own goals and life? How do those things match to that of the business and your professional career?
Over time, our focus may shift, so it’s a good time to realign with the key drivers that you need to be thinking about, and whether you’re paying enough attention to them. When you’re not being interrupted with phone calls, emails, and people walking up to your desk every five minutes -- you really have the chance to think critically and fully.
Use this time to also remember to think about ways to get ahead, the best ways to utilize your team and whether you’re utilizing your resources to the fullest.
3. Recharge. Years ago I heard Steven Covey speak about the seven habits of highly successful people. He always talked about the importance of having balance in your life, and that extends into your own personal life and that of your family. It’s important that you give time back to them and find balance.
We all know entrepreneurs love to work, in fact I would rather do that over anything else most times, because I consider it my fun. But it’s important to remember why we’re doing this.
Most of the time it’s to build wealth for our family, so sit back and get in touch with the family that means so much to you. You’ll find that it helps you recharge your batteries and gives you the drive to go out and do even more than you were doing before!
4. Problems. I have always found that by going away, sometimes the "problems" I was experiencing would go away too. Problems I thought were so detrimental didn’t become such a problem when I got away from the chaos of the office and business.
That isn’t to encourage you to run away from your problems. Rather, by stepping back and enjoying vacation, you’ll discover that most "problems" aren’t really problems at all. If it’s a real issue, it’ll still be there when you get back.
5. Businesses run themselves. An old sage by the name of Lee Iacocca, the former chairman of Chrysler and the author of one of my favorite books of all time, once said that if there is a business manager, owner or executive who can’t step away from his or her business and let it run itself, he or she doesn’t have much of a business.
That’s a very powerful lesson for every single entrepreneur out there.