48 Percent of Small Biz Owners Not Taking Vacations This Summer

Despite summer being a little slower for many small business owners, it looks like that won’t be causing them to take a vacation this year. Manta released its annual SMB Wellness Index survey today, and it shows that 48% of small business owners won’t be taking a vacation this year.  That, coincidentally, is the same percent of small business owners who don’t take vacation as reported last year in 2011.

manta vacation infographic

Slow Business For Some

It’s interesting that, although business slows down for many this time of year (since people are taking time off to be with their children and to go on vacation) small business owners don’t slow down too. Terry Benton, owner of Terry’s Fabric Cottage, said she notices a significant slowdown in business during the summer.

“Summer is always slower for my business because people are on vacation and they are spending more time with their families and friends,” explained Benton. “Quilts are the last things on people’s mind when it’s scorching hot out.”

Benton doesn’t, she says, have the luxury of shutting off her business, even when it’s slow, so she stays connected, even when on vacation.

Despite this slowdown, Manta’s survey shows that more than half of those surveyed are working more this year than last. Here’s hoping they’re working on strategy and marketing while things are slow.

Technology: Always a Factor

Of those that do plan to go on vacation this summer, 71% said they check email while on vacation. Having mobile technology, it seems, is a double-edged sword. It enables us to get out of the office…but it forces us to take the office everywhere.

From the perspective of the spouse who vacations with a business owner who constantly checks his work email (ahem), here are some tips for business owners to balance out their vacation and down time without running their business into the ground:

  • Plan ahead. Determine who will run your business in your absence, or set up parameters for how often you’ll check in.
  • Let everyone know. Employees, customers, vendors. It’s polite to let everyone know you won’t be available.
  • Cut yourself off. Don’t let technology make you over-available. If you say you’re on vacation, people will respect that. So you don’t have to respond to emails the same day.
  • Step away from the business. The purpose of vacations is to step outside of the day-to-day and get some perspective. Don’t be surprised if you come back to work refreshed and with great ideas.
  • Focus on family. Small business owners often have to divide their attention between their work and their families. Remember that vacation is all about the latter. Make it a priority.



Susan Payton Susan Payton is the Communications Manager for the Small Business Trends Awards programs. She is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in content marketing, social media management and press releases. She is also the Founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners who want to generate their own PR.

19 Reactions
  1. I’m surprised that a lot more small business owners don’t burn out! The tips at the end I completely agree with – especially not making yourself over-available.

  2. Even if you don’t “go on vacation”, people need to take a break where they allow their mind and body to recuperate. If not, it’s burn out city.

  3. Thanks for sharing that vacation data, Susan.

    I can’t imagine not taking a vacation, although 1 week is silly…it’s not enough.

    But, that’s what I can do-so I make sure to do it.

    Sooo important to get away and recharge.

    The Franchise King®

  4. Sometimes we forget to turn off our phones and laptops! Cutting yourself off is a very important step!

  5. Wow! These business owners are so chained to their businesses. Do you also think it’s because they are so reluctant to ask for help…either new hire or technology solutions?

  6. I’ve always made time for a break from the daily bookings but mostly the time is spent on other business issues such as training or catching up on paperwork. In September I am taking 4 days to take my son away for the first time since starting! I can’t take a summer holiday as my business gets more frantic this time of year as other people take holidays!

  7. I want to start this off on a high note and state, businesses should never take a vacation. I repeat, businesses should never, ever take a vacation. However, people should vacation frequently. Somehow, when the majority of us bought our DBA (doing business as), we got glued to our office, our desktop, and let’s not forget . . . our mobile devices.

    How can you ask someone to take a vacation when his/her current business model relies on their physical presence? Why are people being pressured into a vacation when broken business models are the real problem? Most of us are using these models, and a few of us are just lucky enough to be in industries that allow vacations on broken business models.

    We all know friends do not let friends drive drunk, yet here we are allowing our coworkers and spouses drive failed business models. If you know anything about stress-related illnesses, then you know letting your loved one drive a failed business model is a car wreck waiting to happen.

    I am actually on an extended vacation (11 months and counting). My wife and I love to travel, and I love seeing her smile at every new location. Here we are living this type of life, and neither of us are in our thirties. In a nutshell, we no longer operate broken business models.

    I could literally write an entire how to book (seriously). Instead I just composed a checklist on how to start repairing your business model.

    1. Do everything on this list today, not tomorrow.
    2. Learn about independent contractors.
    3. Sign onto the Internet.
    4. Find the 21st century terms independent contractors go by:
    (virtual assistant, online assistant, virtual pa . . . )
    5. Become fluent with their services.
    6. Learn to leverage their services with your business needs.
    7. Take a vacation . . . your life depends on it.
    8. Take a vacation . . . your family’s well-being depends on you being “present”.
    9. See you abroad.


    Donatello Bae