How to Take a Holiday When You Run a Small Business

We get it. Taking a break when running a small business can be really hard. So, it’s no surprise that Zurich’s SME Risk Index Survey showed 43% of SME owners hadn’t booked a break longer than 5 working days. Ouch!

Even more troubling is that 31% had only taken off 15 days or fewer in the previous year. A very tired 8% admitted to not taking any holiday at all.

But, a break is essential. It’s not slacking, it’s refuelling! Many highly successful people say their best ideas, and clearest insights, come when they relax in a different environment.

Here at Pandle HQ, we work on the basis that people aren’t machines, and everyone needs a rest. For those that struggle to switch off, here’s how to take a holiday when you’re the owner and boss.

Don’t wait until there’s a quiet patch


Some businesses have definite seasonal lulls. For example, gardeners and wedding planners tend to be much busier over the summer than they are in winter months.

But, many small businesses don’t have that sort of cycle, and work can be more unpredictable. It’s tempting to wait for a quiet patch, but if one never comes, neither does the respite of rest.

Waiting for work to quieten down can mean paying over the odds for a last-minute holiday. Worse than that though, is the instability caused by failing to plan who’s looking after things.  It’s a guaranteed way to start the holiday feeling stressed!


Prepare a stand-in

For slightly larger businesses, having a back-up boss is ideal, even if just to keep things ticking over. Make notes throughout your day to ensure you pass on everything that happens regularly, or is currently a ‘live’ project. A verbal handover is still important, but those written notes will be a useful reminder in your absence.


Is your business so small that going on holiday means your business does too?


Let people know

Let customers and suppliers know in advance that you’ll be away. Use your website and social media accounts to reassure everyone that normal service will be resumed (and when). Change your answerphone message to let callers know when you’ll be back.


If you have a business premises:


  • Nominate an emergency contact and keyholder
    Your nominated person should have a spare key in case access is required in an emergency.
  • Leave everything as safe and sorted as you can
    Switch off any equipment that can be turned off safely, and make sure the burglar and smoke alarms are working. Look ahead to pay invoices that will come due during your absence, too!

Finally, try to leave work behind completely. If you really can’t, at least restrict the time you spend checking work.  

Elizabeth Hughes

A content writer specialising in business, finance, software, and beyond. I'm a wordsmith with a penchant for puns and making complex subjects accessible.

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