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SMBs: Keeps the stress from summer vacations
Summer vacations are right around the corner, but rather than the stress-free environment most people find many small business owners will only find more stress. But they don't have to. Here are our top three tips to put the fun in vacation - even for SMBs.
Kristina: What can SMBs do to prepare now for employees - or the business owner themselves - going on summer vacations?
Mike Pugh, Vice President of Marketing, eVoice: According to a small business survey from j2 Global, 54% of small business owners will be taking summer vacation this year, however, the majority of those small business owners (31%) still plan on working while on holiday. For these hardworking business owners, there are two things that they can do to prepare before their summer vacation - let people know you're leaving and assign responsibility to other team members/employees. A lot of people forget to set up an automatic email response or update their voicemail with a vacation memo. If people don't know you're on vacation, chances are they'll keep on hounding you or feel slighted that you haven't returned an email or call. Simply letting people know you're out is one of the best ways to cut yourself some slack and enjoy your time off.
Going on vacation allows a small business owner to pass off some of that responsibility and empower employees by forcing owners to hand off tasks. Not only does this help you lessen the anxiety while away, but empowers your employees by taking on tasks normally assigned for the boss. This challenges your employees and allows them to gain more responsibility.
Kristina: SMBs, especially, need to stay 'in touch' even during vacation. How can they do that and still get the time away they need to rejuvenate?
Mike: Vacations are a good thing. In fact, according to a 2011Intuit study, 82% of small business owners said they felt more productive after returning from a vacation. So you can still enjoy your vacation while away, set 'office hours' with clear guidelines for your employees, vendors and partners on when you'll be checking in. Maybe check your email for 30 minutes when you're getting ready for your day in the morning and another 30 minutes before dinner so you're only spending one hour "working" and stick to it. Only respond to urgent messages if you can and place the rest in a folder or flag for follow up upon your return. This not only helps you enjoy your vacation, but also doesn't ruin the flow for those vacationing with you.
Kristina: How do tools like eVoice or eFax help SMBs during these time periods?
Mike: Cloud-based apps like eVoice and eFax help small business owners keep in touch quickly and efficiently when necessary. A virtual phone number like eVoice enables a small business owner to work from anywhere without worrying about missing an important call or losing touch with the business. For example, call forwarding allows incoming calls to your business number to be routed anywhere you designate -- cell phone, cabin, hotel room, etc. It also enables small business owners to screen their calls with caller ID and voicemail screening so you know when to pick up. Even better, there's voicemail to text so checking in on messages has never been easier. eFax digitally stores documents on secure file servers so they can be retrieved when needed. You can also digitally sign documents and send them along. Crucial is you're the only one who can sign off on expense reports and paychecks.
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