When I first purchased my company, I thought I’d never take a vacation day—and for the first 18 months I didn’t. I found that at least part of each day was filled with emailing, brainstorming, writing or managing one task after another.

Pretty soon my goal was to get rid of some of the daily burdens of work. This was not so much in an effort to take a vacation day, but rather to work on what really pushed the business forward and generated revenue. My rule of thumb was to assign myself an hourly rate, and if I wasn’t willing to pay someone that wage for the task I was performing, I outsourced it. This became a calculated way to free up some time.

My next major hurdle was attending a business conference. A funny thing happened when I finally left: the office didn’t close. There were no emergencies. In fact, everything ran really smoothly. I quickly learned that things don’t have to fall apart just because I’m not there. Here are three ways to prepare your business for your eventual (short-term) departure.

1. Outsource daily tasks

As the owner, you should be working on long-term strategies. Or as Michael Gerber puts it, an owner should be working on their business not in it. This is easier said than done, but you can do something similar to what I did in order to decide what tasks should be outsourced. Consider your hourly rate, and if you’re not willing to pay someone that wage for the task then outsource it to another individual. This frees you up to focus on other concerns.

2. Communicate clearly with your staff

Communication is key to keeping things running smoothly while you’re away. Whether you have one employee or one hundred, you need to let your staff know your expectations before you leave. Address the following questions with your employees before your planned departure:

  • Will their responsibilities change?
  • How available will you be after you leave?
  • What is the best way to get in touch with you?
  • What do you need to be notified about immediately and what can wait?

3. Prepare in advance

As a business owner, we all have a million projects we’re working on at once. Pick the most critical and make sure that you can come to a stopping point before you travel away from the office. The only way that you can focus on other things when you’re out of the office (be it a conference or a getaway) is to wrap up important projects before you leave.

By following these steps you will grow personally while also growing your company. Though you may currently be running the show solo or with the help of just a few others, the fact of the matter is that one day you will eventually need to travel or get out of the office. And when that time comes, your business doesn’t have to fall apart.

Your time is precious. It’s time to make every second count. Learn how to take your productivity to the max with our free e-book.