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Home-business time off

Question
How can I take time off from my home-based business without losing customers? 
Answer
If you're a sole proprietor, as most home-based business owners are, you have four basic options with varying levels of business risk:

- Use technology to take the office with you. Cell phones, laptops, PDAs/BlackBerries, and the like allow you to keep you in business from almost anywhere.

- Step away from the business. Have business calls forwarded to an answering service and use an auto-responder on your email.

- Make a deal. Collaborate with another business owner to help you out while you're away (then, you'll do the same when they take a vacation).

- Communicate in advance. Tell your most important customers you're heading on vacation. Take care of them in advance and provide a back-up with one of the other options so everyone is covered. 
Brain Trust contributor: Co-Author of The 30 Second Commute
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