The idea of a vacation sounds dreadful to you as a startup owner, understandably. To your mind, it probably looks like dreadful advice to abandon your ‘baby’ in a forest full of wolves. In reality, though, it’s one of the best decisions you can make for your business. Done right, vacation yields immense benefits for your business.
It doesn’t have to be a far-away trip – it can be as simple as camping in the woods. The important thing is that you take time, away from your business, to unwind and recharge your batteries. That way you can come back refreshed, re-energized, and ready to tackle all of the challenges that come with running a startup with renewed vigor.
Why You Need to Take a Vacation From Your Startup
When you set out on a start up, you were probably fresh and full of new ideas. Your creativity was tipping the scales, and you had instant answers for every question that popped up. You had new, innovative ways of doing things, and everyone on your team marveled at you.
However, at some unannounced point, things stopped seeming so easy. You spend more and more time with your face in your palms, thinking hard.
Relax. You have not become any less creative – you’re just tired. You need to take time off to cure burnout and recharge. Everyone in the team needs it at some point, and it’s your job to lead the way.
Explore Your Startup From a Distance
Ever noticed how construction engineers occasionally move a good distance away from their mushrooming constructions just to look at them? They do this because at a distance, they’re able to see the installation from a wholly different angle. They’re able to see things better than they would from within.
Think of your startup in the same way. Away from the every day management, you’re able to see clearly how your business looks from the outside – what needs to be strengthened and what needs to be changed.
An external perspective can help you see past your blindspots. You might even find that the solutions to problems you’ve been agonizing over are actually staring you right in the face.
Give the Business Room to Grow
A vacation will allow you to delegate responsibility and let the business operate without you. In your presence, everyone looks up to you to make important decisions. Taking a vacation will force individual team members to think for themselves and work more as a team.
Team members also gain the opportunity to take on new roles. This way, you allow both the business and individual team members to build some muscle of their own in the trade – that’s growth.
By letting operations continue without you, you get to evaluate how the business would respond to shocks that would cause your sudden absence. A start up is like a baby, you have to wean and let it walk on its own at some point.
How to Go on Vacation
Very well, a vacation is good, but you just don’t know where to start or how to go about it.
When you’re employed, taking a vacation is as simple as not showing up for work. When you run the business, it’s a little different. This will take some drive and preparation. Here’s how:
Identify the Most Capable Member to Take Charge of the Team
Of course, taking a vacation will require a team leader in your absence. In small teams, it’s difficult to pinpoint the natural second in command – what with all members sharing roles as humble as fetching lunch. Use your intuition to pick a most trusted and able member to take charge in your absence.
In the lead up to your vacation, experiment with delegating more than just tasks. Delegate responsibility and decision-making. Mentor your second-in-command until you’re both comfortable with this delegation.
Include Time Off Early in Your Plans
If your start up isn’t off the ground yet, you have a better chance to include time off at the planning stage. This way, it will come as an obligation. You might need to push it forward because startups take some unexpected turns anyway, but you will know it has to come at some point.
If you're up and running, it’s just as important to set expectations. Everyone from employees to clients should have plenty of advance notice for when you’ll be gone – and how accessible you’ll be while away.
Deep Dive Into Vacation
Make the decision to take some time off and run with it. Don’t second-guess or postpone your vacation – be like Nike and just do it.
The restorative power of a vacation is severely hamstrung when your brain is still at the office. Once you’re out, be as inaccessible as possible. As long as you’ve set clear expectations for stakeholders, turn your phone off and make an effort to avoid checking emails.
Just take a vacation, okay?
Startups, no matter how well-researched, come with a sort of unique newness to every entrepreneur. It is always a dive into uncharted seas. They mainly stem from passion, and the desire to succeed always oscillates with the fear of failure. As such, the idea of taking vacations from a startup may well always cause doubt.
Time off should be seen as part of the businesses’ running requirement – a practice that contributes to the overall success of your venture. It may not have occurred to you before, but a vacation might just be the best thing for your startup right now.