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BizReport : Internet : May 24, 2016

Fun in the Sun: How to Take a Vacation as a Small Business Owner

As the days get longer, many people are getting ready to take time off work to recharge their batteries, or unplug from their day-to-day routine somewhere relaxing. But 42 percent of small business customers expect a response from a business within four hours of sending an email - does that mean business owners can't pack their bags and take some time off?

by Kristina Knight

According to a GoDaddy survey, 40 percent of small business owners use their phones to successfully access their productivity applications (examples: email, calendar, online bookkeeping), and stay in touch with business operations no matter where they are. With a little extra planning, everyone can take time off and make sure they get the most out of their vacation.

GoDaddy's Chief Product Officer, Steven Aldrich, has four tips for small business owners looking to get the most out of their summer vacations:

Set expectations early

Let your clients know with plenty of warning when you're planning to be out of town so you can schedule projects to wrap before you leave. If you can't finish a project before it's time to leave for your trip, work with your client to make sure you make progress and get to a good pause point that can start back up when you return. Be sure to set expectations with employees as well. Let them know when you'll be out of the office and prepare them accordingly, making sure to communicate with them how to reach you for urgent matters.

Be realistic

It might not be possible for small business owners to completely step away while on vacation, so while you're out, set a specific time of day to check in on the business. Whether it's first thing in the morning or before bed, catch up on what needs to be done immediately, and then don't be a slave to your email, text and call notifications. Your travel companions will be appreciative of you keeping your work time limited to a specific hour, and you can work around planned activities for the day. If you have to, leave your work phone in the room for the majority of the day so that you don't miss out on valuable vacation time.

Keep content moving

If you are a smaller business and work alone, you don't want to go an extended period of time without communicating with your customers. Stay in touch with your email subscribers by setting up email marketing campaigns before your vacation. Create posts before you leave and schedule them to go out while you're out of the office. If you have any social media presence, you can use a tool like Hootsuite to schedule posts to go out.

Forward your phone

If you have employees who handle questions from customers, forward your business phone calls to them. Better yet, set-up a phone "tree" so when your business number gets calls you can have the caller select what they are calling about and have the call routed to the right person. The next generation of cloud phone systems allow you to do this without any expensive hardware.

Find a partner

If you have a set schedule and a brick-and-mortar shop, find another local business owner to help you and stand in while you're away. Having another local business owner who likely knows your clientele will ensure your customers feel well taken care of while you're away. Plus, a job swap will give you extra peace of mind while you're away, and you can return the favor sometime down the line!

Tags: GoDaddy, small business, SMB tips, SMB trends, vacation

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