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A Business Owner’s Guide to a Stress-Free Summer Vacation

In just a few weeks, kids will be out of school for the summer.

Your spouse is already in your ear about making summer plans for the beach, mountains or other family-friendly activity. You nod your head in agreement and it starts to come together. But, you are hesitant.

The office doesn’t run as efficiently as you need it to when you are away, and you may not have the perfect mix of staff that will keep projects moving forward. You feel the pressure at home and at the office.

If this feels familiar, you have some work to do, and fast. Here is your step-by-step guide to a stress-free summer vacation:

Announce your plans and block off your schedule. It’s a great way to hold yourself accountable and tell your team they need to start preparing.

Identify a “Number Two” in your office, if you haven’t already, and begin grooming that person to run the show while you are away. It doesn’t have to be a promotion or come with a title, it’s just someone you trust that has your back.

If you normally have the final word in your office, start asking your Number Two what they would do in that situation, and gain confidence on how they might run the business in your absence.

Empower them to make mistakes. It’s likely that some mistakes will be made, but don’t sweat it. It’s part of the delegation and leadership-development process. I have a rule in my office: If you are going to make a mistake, be sure it is an aggressive one and not a mistake due to inaction.

Don’t totally unplug. This may be a controversial one, but you have dedicated your blood, sweat and tears into your business and you don’t need it blown up in a week. Establish a predetermined frequency and time when you will call and check in or look at emails.

Tell your Number Two, “Don’t call me. I’ll call you, except in emergencies. If the office burns down, call me, but if the printer needs ink, don’t bother me.”

Get comfortable with these scenarios before you leave:

Good news!

  • Likely your Number 2 will feel a new sense of worth and step up to meet the occasion. You will have more confidence in them than you had before and this person may even be your successor.
  • Your “A” players initiated new projects and have pushed them along faster than they would have if they were coming to you regularly for guidance.
  • Not much changed. You are not as valuable to your business as you thought you were.

Bad news!

  • Your processes (or lack of) were exposed. You now know what you need to fix to make your next vacation go more smoothly.
  • When the cat is away, the mice will play. Your bottom performers (you probably knew who they were before you left) didn’t have any new sales, or their productivity dropped off.
  • Those who have not bought into your vision may have come in late and left early during the time you were gone. This confirmed your suspicions, and they need to go.
  • You have 500 emails.

It was a brutal winter, so now it’s time to enjoy some of the benefits of being your own boss. Remember, if you can’t step away from your business for a week or a month, then your business owns you. You have a job, not a business.

Brian Barquilla is the president of AdvantageB2B Consulting + Marketing and is an expert in marketing privately owned businesses. With more than 15 years of experience as a CEO, Brian holds degrees in marketing and management from Jacksonville University. He lives in North Florida with his wife Robin and their two children.