Does your company need a vacation from you this year?

Jim Blasingame

Could you use a vacation? 

I know. Silly question. And not just for the rest and relaxation. Most of us realize time away gives any leader a better perspective upon returning. But polls show not much more than half of small business owners are likely to take off an entire week for vacation.

Perhaps this is a better question: Could your business use a vacation from YOU?

Of course, it could. Your absence will reveal organizational weaknesses that need attention, as well as strengths you may have overlooked.

Regardless of your motivations, here are four ideas to help you consider taking more time off. 

1.  Define success. Webster defines success two ways: 1) a favorable outcome; 2) gaining wealth and fame.

Embracing both definitions as having equal value will help you recognize that living long enough to enjoy the fruits of the second definition—with your loved ones—must be part of your success definition. 

2.  Hire quality. Taking time off requires being able to leave your business with a team that’s trustworthy. 

If you’re not comfortable with the idea of leaving your baby in the care of others, your instincts are probably good, but your hiring practices not so much. Part of your interview process should determine whether a prospect has the skills, capability and integrity to one day be trusted with your company in your absence. 

3. Delegate. If you’ve already assembled that trustworthy team, their usefulness is limited by your ability to delegate. Delegating isn’t easy for entrepreneurs; you’ve done all of the jobs, and you know how you want them done. But there’s an old saying that successful delegators embrace, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”  If you cringe at the thought of how things won’t be perfect in your absence—get over it. The good will be enough for one week.

4. Leverage technology. No one has to be completely unplugged anymore. There’s plenty of affordable technology that can serve as your security blankie by helping you “mind the store” without actually being there. And if you practice, no one will notice that you peeked at your email on your smart phone while rolling over to tan the other side.

Finally, if you’re not intentional about living a balanced life—that includes vacations—you may accomplish the “wealth and fame” part of success, but the big celebration may involve others toasting you posthumously.

Write this on a rock … Give yourself—and your business—a vacation. It’s still not too late this year.

Jim Blasingame is host of The Small Business Advocate Show and author of the new book, The 3rd Ingredient: The Journey of Analog Ethics into the World of Digital Fear and Greed.

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