When you’re an employee at a business, illness and injury are typically covered by paid time off. All you have to do is stay home and focus on getting better. But when you’re the business owner, things are different. Stay away too long and your business may unravel in your absence.

Small business owner recovering from injury

How to Keep Your Business Running

As a small business owner, you may feel like the entire world is resting on your shoulders. But no matter how many responsibilities and tasks you have on your plate, you’re only human. Sickness and injury can strike at any time, and you can’t just ignore the situation.

Your health is far more important than your business, but you also can’t afford to let your company slip away while you recover. Keeping this mind, here are some practical things you can do to keep your business functioning in your absence.

1. Get the Appropriate Care

The first step is to get the medical care and attention you need. A sudden illness or isolated injury is frustrating, but it isn’t the end of the world. A chronic illness or permanently debilitating injury, on the other hand, will have a serious long-term impact on your business. By focusing on your recovery, you can ensure the former doesn’t become the latter.

2. Let People Know

As much as you may like to recover in anonymity and pretend that you’re invincible, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by keeping your situation close to the vest.

For starters, you need to let your team know. Employees have a right to know what’s happening and will respond better when they have some details. It’s also wise to touch base with long-term/important clients. They’re apt to be more understanding when you give them a heads up.

3. Determine What Can/Can’t Be Done

“When you are incapacitated, it is important to take a look at your to-do list, calendar and deadlines to figure out what you can get done in a realistic and timely manner. Instead of having a meeting in person or attending an event, plan to participate via video conference or by phone,” suggests Deborah Mitchell, an entrepreneur who experienced a broken foot in September 2015. “If it is a money-making project that you can complete, then get it done. If you can’t do it, set a new deadline to complete it when you are feeling better.”

Be honest with yourself and figure out what you can and can’t do. (And this could change on a daily basis.) You want to avoid overextending yourself, while still making a point to stay on top of duties that you can feasibly tackle.

Motivated business team

4. Delegate and Outsource

When you encounter a challenge that can’t be handled, you’ll need to either delegate that task to someone on your team or outsource it to a capable individual outside of the company.

You may also need to outsource issues related to your injury or illness. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, it’s smart to hire a car accident lawyer to handle the legal details and financial negotiations so that you can focus on your business. If you have mounds of medical bills sitting on your kitchen counter, a medical bill negotiation service could save you time and energy. Be strategic!

5. Use Remote Tools

There are plenty of remote tools that allow business owners to manage and lead their companies while absent from the office. Use resources like these to your advantage.

6. Get Plenty of Rest

Rest is extremely important. Whether it’s an illness or injury, you’ll hamper your recovery by constantly being on the phone or computer managing your business. Unplug for extended periods of time and get the rest you need to feel better.

Focus On Your Recovery

At the end of the day, your business needs you to be healthy to function at its best. So by rushing back prematurely, you’re actually doing everyone a disservice. It’s far better to take your time and wait until you’ve reached a full recovery. In doing so, you can return with the sort of energy and focus you need to help your business pursue sustainable growth and success.