Research suggests that at least 70% of small business owners never take a holiday. In our role as business consultants, we come across this time and time again. Catching up on emails is far more the norm than catching a few rays.
While it might appear that taking a break from your business could be catastrophic, not taking one could be worse.
How motivated and productive are you?
Your business cannot afford or function long-term without you taking a quality break. Ignoring this simple fact can be damaging to both your mental health and your business.
When business owners don’t take time out, they become fatigued; directly affecting productivity. Worse, resentment towards your business can build up, further adding to a decline in motivation.
How much holiday should you take?
We recommend taking at least 1-2 weeks holiday a year. If it’s impossible to take such a long break, then make time for long weekends instead. After some quality time away from your business, you’ll come back refreshed, and you’ll notice an increase in productivity – and you’ll make some more money!
Also, notice we say ‘quality’ a lot here. Going away and checking your emails every five minutes isn’t a quality break – a break from the office isn’t a holiday. You need to detach yourself from what’s going on.
To ensure you have a quality break, here are our top tips to help you have a quality holiday:
1) Understand your customer base
Do your customers have a pattern? Understanding your customer base can help identify natural quiet(er) times for your business. This might be the best time to take a break.
A simple survey of your existing customer base could uncover some facts you can use to your advantage. Include questions to find out why they don’t purchase at certain times.
Having this knowledge can help you prepare for that potential dip well in advance of it happening. If it’s an annual occurrence, you’ll have all year to develop a plan to take some time off without it having a significant impact on your business.
2) Handing over the reins
Ensuring the continuity of service for clients is a key concern for business owners when planning a holiday.
Bringing in support while you’re away can help maintain continuity. Planning ahead and scheduling several training or induction meetings before you go away will help acclimatise your support. These mini trial periods will also highlight what tools, platforms and any login details they will need to perform their temporary role.
If this is a problem area for you, take a look at our Creating Consistency in Service article. In this article, we explain how to give staff the tools and knowledge to get the job done exactly as you want it!
3) Build a good relationship with your clients
Having a good relationship with your clients is worth its weight in gold. Giving your clients a heads up before you go away will help to set expectations and may even result in more work before/after you go away.
If you’re handing over the reins, make sure your ‘out of office’ points clients in the right direction by providing temporary contact details. If you don’t have someone supporting you, let people know what your plans are: when you will be returning, or how access to your emails is limited and when you check them.
4) What to do if you can’t let go
If you still don’t believe you can hand over the reins and take a holiday, you need to take measures to switch off the best you can.
As we mentioned before, if you can’t take a long break, take long weekends instead.
If you still need to contact the office: schedule calls (as few as possible), don’t make or take unscheduled calls. More often than not, people need guidance or ‘permission’ to take a direction. Try and be the decision-maker and provide support only – don’t take on the work!
Get holiday ready and make more profit
So, with the summer upon us, it’s the perfect time to get away. If you don’t yet have your summer break planned, get one booked!
If you understand the benefit of taking a break but still feel unable to, book a free business review so we can help get your business ‘holiday ready’ and more profitable!