Every small business person experiences the thrill of launching their own business and the excitement of the entrepreneurial journey. There are numerous advantages to being your own boss, from setting your schedule to choosing work that fuels your passions.. The flip side of being an owner is that many founders pour their hearts and souls into their work, finding it difficult to take time off to recharge their batteries.
They fear disconnecting from customers even for a day, not wanting to disappoint them or lose business. Research has shown that over 50% of Americans reported feeling guilty about taking vacation time. As “workcations” increase in popularity and travel restrictions are lifting, many plan to finally go on vacation now that the severity of the pandemic has somewhat subsided. Here are five ways small business owners can take time off and still engage with clients while reenergizing their mind and body.
There was a time when business executives’ bragging rights were how few vacations they took and how many air miles they clocked. Fortunately, things have changed – especially since the pandemic, as people reevaluated the importance of experiences over material belongings – a holiday, or workcation is seen as positive and can allow one to experience new cultures and try new things without lagging on work duties. Your clients will appreciate that you are taking time to recharge as long as you keep them informed about how their business will be handled in your absence.
Some small business owners choose not to tell their customers that they are taking time off and prefer, especially if their business is virtual, to keep correspondence as usual wherever they are in the world. This tactic works if you can find time to recharge while still maintaining a flexible work schedule. Other entrepreneurs tell their clients that they will be out of the office for a set time and contact them when they return.
Engage if Necessary
Owners can let customers know that they will review calls and emails twice a day and will handle their pressing needs. This strategy lets clients know that you are concerned about their situation and manage what is most critical. It also provides entrepreneurs most of the day to spend time with family and friends and still take care of essential work items.
Bring Your Office with You
Entirely disconnecting from work is not an option for some small business owners. Thanks to technology and the increase of remote-working teams, taking a vacation is possible while remaining connected to your business. Bring a portable office to handle the most urgent requests and troubleshoot problems. The items may include a laptop, mobile phone and charger, and portable Wi-Fi device to allow you to have an internet connection on the go.
Once you return from your time away, make sure your clients know you are back. Perhaps the night before your return to work, send a note letting them know that you have thought about their specific needs while offsite. If you travel, you can share something you read on vacation that may interest them or something you observed that could help them in business. Reconnection is just as crucial as disconnecting to maintain and enhance customer relations.
Time away from work is as important as the time you put into your business. Working without a break leads to burnout and stagnation. Taking a break allows you to rest or spend time with loved ones and re-energizes you to tackle projects with renewed enthusiasm when you return, and fitting in travel can inspire you to approach things differently that may, in turn, benefit your business. Thanks to technology, entrepreneurs can get away and remain engaged with their customers, as little or as much as they choose, while keeping their business moving forward.
Ibi Montesino is Executive Vice President of Distributor and Customer Experience and Chief of Staff at Herbalife Nutrition.