If you have a hard time getting away, you're not alone. 10% of CEOs on the 1996 Inc. 500 list say they take no vacation. Terry Anderson is not among that 10%. As far back as 1991, when his company, Omni Tech, a computer manufacturer in Pewaukee, Wis., had $5 million in sales, he took three weeks of vacation. In 1995 he took a relaxing six weeks off. Anderson, whose company had $58 million in 1996 sales, says entrepreneurs do their companies a disservice by not taking breaks. "You get stale, and the business doesn't grow," he says. Here are his tips:
Plan ahead. At the start of the year, block off -- in ink -- two consecutive weeks on your calendar. "It takes me three to four days just to relax," Anderson explains.
Leave the business in good hands. For Anderson, the key to a tranquil respite is having someone ready to take the reins. He has already hired and trained the person who will ultimately replace him when he retires. Anderson has also delegated many responsibilities to managers. "Typically, the company runs just as well when I'm not here," he says.
Don't check in. Some CEOs can't resist frequent calls in. "If you call every day, your mind is still at the business," says Anderson. And worse, he adds, such calls communicate to your managers that you don't trust them.
Come back a day early. Anderson returns home on a Saturday, so he can spend Sunday at the office catching up on his mail. He claims that makes Monday morning a lot less hectic.