Question: What's one tip you'd give a fellow business owner who wants to take some real time off before the new year?
"If your business can't run without your presence for a week or two, then you have bigger issues at hand. With that being said, take some time to get refreshed, gain perspective and return to work with a clear head and new ideas. "
Book Your Trip Now
"If you want to guarantee your time off, then book your trip now. Put it on the calendar, and make the trip non-negotiable by booking with others. It's inevitable that something will come up attempting to deter your plans. However, when we commit to others, there's an accountability that doesn't exist otherwise. "
Mirror Your Clients
"Take time off when your clients take time off. For a lot of people, this is during Christmas or Thanksgiving because work typically slows for everyone. For most businesses -- other then retail -- November and December are generally slow periods."
Leave Your Electronic Devices at Home
"Take a brief, electronic-free vacation. Commit to avoiding the Internet, and only use your smartphone for phone calls. Arrange for someone back at the office to handle all responsibilities, and tell them to communicate with you only in extreme emergencies."
Talk to Your Family First
"I don't consider spending time with my family at the holidays to be a true vacation -- but it can be crucial to healthy family relationships. Before you plan your time off for this time of year, I'd suggest finding out what your family has planned and your obligations to those plans."
Share the Wealth
"Take the time you need, but before you do, make sure your employees know that you value their hard work as well. Encourage your team to strategically recharge, and make sure you’re providing the means for this."
Implement a Good Leadership Structure
"As executives, it's our responsibility to structure our business, so we can enjoy some form of balance in our lives. This means having the right leadership structure in place beneath us, so we can take some time off without the whole thing falling apart. But, this only applies if your startup is in a good place! If it isn't, then there's no vacation or sleep for you until it is."
Do a Trial Run
"Before I go on vacation, I do a trial run. I unplug for a "mini" vacation to test it out. I'll immediately find out how well I delegated, who needed something from me and what came to a halt when I left. All these problems come to light through trial and error. Do a trial run, fix the issues and then do the real thing. You'll be able to more comfortably disconnect. "
Make Sure Your Clients Feel Supported
"If you have daily interaction with your clients and customers, be sure to make them feel supported, and have a strong backup plan in place just in case. Disconnecting is valuable for your sanity, but it can be really scary for your clients who rely on you regularly. By ensuring that they feel supported and have direction on what to do while you're out, you'll be sure to come back to happy clients."