David FullerRachael and Carmel were a little surprised, and perhaps a little nervous, when I told them I was taking a six-month vacation and that they would be in charge.

The business had been open for five years, but the truth was I was making more money renovating and flipping houses than I was from the business.

My brother Rob was getting married in Ireland and I was the best man. I thought that after working hard getting the business started, it was time to take a break. I was exhausted from working in the business and a six-month vacation was going to do me good.

Most business owners will never take six months off from their business in their lives. Many are lucky if they take a couple of weeks off per year. I talked to one business owner recently who told me that every time she took a rare holiday, she had to tell her staff that she was taking a business trip because she felt so guilty.

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If you own or manage a business, you need to start booking your summer holidays now, months early, so you can really benefit from a vacation. Often we think we need to take a vacation just to spend time with our family and friends, and while that’s so important, there are some other equally important reasons.

Protect your health.

As owners and managers of organizations, we can push ourselves to physical and mental exhaustion.

Taking a holiday and resting helps revive our adrenal glands and allows us a break from the ongoing exhaustion associated with the running of a business. Without proper rest, our bodies get to the point where they can’t take any more and shut down at inopportune times.

Taking a vacation ensures that when we need to be mentally and physically at our prime, we’re ready.

Get away from the stress.

The day-to-day activities of the business can cause us stress. The thoughts of having to make ends meet, deal with customers, staff and suppliers can be stressful for business owners.

This means we must turn off our phones and stop checking our email when we take a holiday.

Taking a break from the day-to-day activities and stresses allows us to really rest. Weekends don’t give us enough time to decompress and relax from the stresses of the business.

Vacations two or three weeks in length give us a chance to forget our daily business problems and spend happy times with our friends and family away from the rigours of work.

Recharge and revision.

After I took my six months off, I was ready to come back and really get the business going. I had some ideas that could take us to the next level and the energy to implement those ideas.

But it doesn’t have to be six months. Sometimes it only takes a break of six days or six weeks for owners to get really focused and recharged.

I love driving long distances on holidays, because I can mull things over in my mind as I drive and get clarity on what I need to do in the business.

Without taking the time to revision, leaders seem to forget their purpose and, as a result, end up charging blindly off in all directions.

If you’ve lost your clarity and purpose, a vacation is a great way to find it again.

Empower your employees.

Once Rachael and Carmel got over the shock of me leaving, they became empowered to run the business with the help of the other staff.

Going on vacation means that someone needs to be in charge. Employees who are empowered become invested in the organization. They get a sense of meaning, and understand that they’re important to the existence of the business and the service of customers.

Without empowered, invested employees, our businesses are lacklustre and as owners, we end up doing all the work.

If you’d like to have a team that really supports you, take more vacations!

Find out what doesn’t work.

One of the best reasons to go on vacation is to find out what doesn’t work in your business. As owners, we need to have systems to ensure that things run smoothly. Taking a vacation is one great way to find out what systems need fixing.

If you’re getting calls on your vacation because you’re the only one who knows how to do something, you have a problem.

If you have a week’s work on your desk for every week you took on your trip, you have a problem.

Your first job when you get back shouldn’t be to do the work. It should be to implement systems so that you won’t have the same problems next time.

Vacations are beneficial in so many ways. Not only can you have better health and better relationships, but you’ll be able to have a better, more valuable business by implementing systems that enable you to have a stress-free organization.

Not taking a vacation is harmful to your health and your business. Book yours now!

Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award winning business coach and a partner in the firm Pivotleader Inc. Comments on business at this time? Email [email protected]

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