It's been a long, hard slog through the recession, and many small business owners put off vacation time while they struggled to stay afloat. As the economy thaws, more entrepreneurs are envisioning themselves on a beach with a cold drink in their hand. That's really good news for their health -- and the health of their business.
The most recent Discover Small Business Watch study found a decline in the number of business owners who canceled or postponed their vacation. Last year at this time, 58 percent of business owners said they'd put off taking a break; now, it's down to 51 percent.
In general, owners seem to be getting a bit more work-life balance going. The number of entrepreneurs who said they work six or more days a week went down too -- it's 56 percent now, down from 61 percent a year ago.
Too many are still displaying workaholic tendencies, though -- 55 percent of small business owners said they haven't been on a vacation in two or more years. And 38 percent currently report they work 10 or more hours a day, nearly even with the figure for 2009. That's just not healthy, either for you or your business.
Study after study has shown that vacations are good for our health. I believe breaks are good for business, too.
How does that work? If you're going to be away, you may learn to delegate better. You'll need to train workers and hand off responsibilities while you're gone. This can bring more empowered employees, and possibly free up some of your time when you get back to work on bigger-picture tasks.
Getting away also gives you a fresh perspective on your business. Personally, I always get a lot of ideas for new marketing approaches for my writing business while I'm on a break.
Also, with all the Internet tools we have now for staying in touch, really what's your excuse? You can manage a customer crisis from nearly everywhere these days without too much trouble, should one arise. The Wi-Fi is out there.
Are you planning a vacation this summer? If not, why not? Leave a comment and let us know your attitude about vacation for '10.