I have two friends, one in the U.S. and the other in Germany. Each owns their own businesses as sole proprietors. One friend takes vacation each year and the other talks about taking a vacation but never does it. Recently I had the occasion to ask each of them about why they do what they do and how they do it.
My friend in the in the U.S. doesn’t feel he can trust his employees to run things while he is away and he doesn’t want to shut down his business for fear of losing revenue he could earn if he stayed home. Our friend in Germany has good, reliable, honest employees he trusts but, none-the-less he shuts down his firm and takes a vacation each year.
I am sure there are a myriad of reasons for the differences between the business owners. Cultural and psychological reasons come to mind but one that stands out to me is that the business owner in the U.S. doesn’t plan for vacation and the German business owner does.
If you own a business and you want to be able to take vacations, here are a few planning ideas that may make it easier:
- Schedule your vacation well in advance – before the beginning of each January. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to commit this early. Stick to your schedule, otherwise it may easy to let something or someone derail your plans.
- Create a plan in advance that accounts for the lost time and revenue from a vacation. If you must, consider adjusting your billing rates accordingly. This way, through a small price increase, your customers each pay a small amount more and you spread out the costs of lost revenue over a year.
- Set appointments right up to the day you leave and make sure you are block your calendar for the day you return. Otherwise, you may spend days before and after the trip getting ready to go and settling in after you return. That could turn a 10-day holiday into 15 days of lost productivity!
- Book airlines and hotels in advance. This commits you but it also allows you to take advantage of discounts when they’re available.
Really, at the end of the day, assuming one has the resources to take a vacation, the reason one takes one or not comes down to making a choice. The rest is just planning.