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February 25, 2013

What Happens When The CEO Takes A Vacation?

hot summer weather shippingWhen you’re running a small business and you’re the main contact for…well, for pretty much everything, how do you head out on vacation and not worry the entire time?  This is something I’m struggling with because on Wednesday I’m headed to Africa for 3 weeks.

I love food and entrepreneurship (which I hope is obvious), but I’m also passionate about animals.  So when an opportunity arose to go to Rwanda to see endangered mountain gorillas and Tanzania for a wildlife safari, I jumped on it (I also tagged on a trip to Zanzibar to see the spice plantations.  I need to check the US Customs website and see how many pounds of spices I’m allowed to bring back!)

So that brings me back to my original question.  How do entrepreneurs take vacations and actually really check out?  What do you do?

On the plus side, thanks to technology the Small Food Business website will continue to bring you a number of new articles while I’m gone so please keep checking back.  I also have someone I trust (who is a small business expert) checking the comments to make sure that legitimate (aka – not spam) comments are released in a timely manner.   Facebook and Twitter will continue to be up and running too though again you might see more of a delay than you’ve been used to in the past.  Any other recommendations on how best to prepare the business for my absence?  Thoughts on how to actually take a mental break and focus on getting face-to-face with gorillas?

4 comments on “What Happens When The CEO Takes A Vacation?

  • James Shanley on said:

    My wife and I have owned a small (non-food) business for the past 18 years. In that time, we have never been able to get away for more than a week per year. It is simply impossible to be absent for any longer.

    Unless we vacationed in very remote places with little or no cell/internet service, our vacations were often interrupted by business matters that simply had to be dealt with. When this happens, the much needed recharge just doesn’t occur. Feelings of resentment and being cheated arise. Not good.

    There is the real risk that if the owner is not around to meet the needs of a customer, one will loose that customer. Unless one is willing to work without respite, this is a risk that comes with the territory. From my perspective, its a risk worth taking. The alternative is burn out.

    If a business is large enough, tasks and responsibilities can be delegated to trusted employees. My advice to solo businesses or mom and pop outfits such as ours would be to notify all your customers (yes, many will ignore you) that you will be closed, have an auto reply on your email and change your phone message. And then go on your vacation. Don’t look at your email, and turn the phone off. It will all be waiting for you when you get back.

  • smstypingservices on said:

    Hope you have fun on your vacation. I would love to do something like that, so jealous. I am a Virtual Assistant who can help small businesses whilst they take their vacations. You don’t have to close your business for a week or two, ignore phone calls and e-mails. The can be taken care off whilst you lay back and enjoy the sunshine and cocktails.

  • Willie Crockett on said:

    Hi,

    my business is also non food and I pretty much agree with the above comment. By communicating well with clients ahead of the event the vast majority of people will understand your need for a break. There are however very rare circumstances where it is important that an emergency contact is given to a trusted individual to allow them to get get in touch with you (no matter where or when) in the event of something unforeseen that is EVEN more important than your rest and relaxation.

    Willie Crockett
    Business Development Director
    PBLS