Successful Sabbatical Strategies for Business Owners
How you can make your dream of a sabbatical a reality
Taking time for personal and professional renewal offers you the opportunity to recharge your battery and restore your energy and drive. Today, sabbaticals are more common than ever and they aren’t just for the ultra-wealthy or college professors anymore. In fact, many individuals from all walks of life are taking advantage of what many consider to be the world’s best perk.
As a business owner, you are a prime candidate for a sabbatical. Not only will you get much deserved time-off from running your business (which has likely taken over a good part of your life), but also you will have the opportunity to explore new places and learn about new innovations. Getting away from the day-to-day grind empowers you with time for clear thinking and the chance to visit places that can revitalize your business. It’s a win for you and a win for your business. Plus, a sabbatical can be one of the most exciting activities for a business owner who is looking for ways to spark change in their day-to-day businesses.
If you’re ready to take some time off, here are some tips to help make your sabbatical as successful as possible.
Leave the company in good hands
Sabbaticals are great succession primers, as you can leave your company in the hands of a capable colleague who you may be “grooming” to take over your business someday. Before you leave the country or even the office for an extended period of time, leave time for plenty of discussions with your successor about your expectations of that person and how the business will run during that time. Doing so will offer you peace-of-mind that your business will run smoothly in your absence. Many business owners find much personal satisfaction from grooming a younger manager to take over their business. While your sabbatical can be an exciting time to revitalize your business, it can also be a fun way to impart your knowledge to a future successor.
Leave time for personal and professional renewal Because sabbaticals are often once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, make sure you leave enough time for personal and professional renewal, without overextending yourself. Put in place a detailed plan of several places you would like to visit or things you would like to accomplish that will provide you with a fresh perspective about your business. While it is a period of relaxation, it should also be a time for growth and possibly even education. And most of all relax and enjoy the time-off. Sabbaticals don’t come around everyday, so take pleasure in the time off.
Plan for re-entry
While sabbatical-fever may feel like it’s consumed your life, also be sure to think about a re-entry strategy. Talk with your management team about how you want things to look when you come back and what changes you might bring with you from the places you’ll explore and people you’ll be meeting during your time-off. A re-entry strategy enables you to think about what kind of ideas and visions you bring back and then helps you get the executive team excited about potential changes down the road – which may include new technology, new products or even restructuring. It may also provide you a backdrop for taking a back-seat role in the day-to-day management of the company, enabling you to play a broader, more strategic role when you return.
Refine Your Personal Financial Strategy
As you look to a sabbatical for professional and personal renewal, you can also take this time to give your finances a renewal too. Any type of change in your financial circumstances can serve as a good reminder to revisit and re-evaluate your financial and retirement goals. Work with your financial advisor well ahead of your sabbatical to make sure that your longterm investments are on track to meet your personal financial goals. This can be a good time to make any necessary changes to your total financial strategy. He or she can help you look for ways to generate income, if necessary; as well as help you determine ways to continue to build your retirement nest egg while you’re away. Your financial advisor can even help you prepare to manage simple tasks, such as setting up automatic bill pay to ensure your day-to-day finances are handled in your absence.
Follow that Dream A sabbatical is often a dream for many business owners who have poured much of their energy into creating a successful business. As you plan your sabbatical, taking into account the management of your company and how you’ll manage your finances while you’re away, you may feel exhilarated and overwhelmed all at once. Remember, thorough planning coupled with the insights of a financial advisor who understands your life goals and dreams, will ensure that your sabbatical won’t compromise your financial security or your business goals and it will bring the renewal you need to re-energize your business and your life. Michael Falcon is a Managing Director