Small Biz Owners Vacationing, But

May 25, 2005 ( - Most small company owners will take some time off this summer, but they'll continue to keep up with e-mail and other business while they are away.

A new American Express survey that found that two-thirds (67%) of small business owners expect to take a break of at least a week this summer – about the same as 2003 and 2004. However, the number who plan at least once-a-day contact with the office dropped to 51%, from 57% in 2004.

Geographically, North Central states business owners were the most likely to plan at least one summer vacation week (74%), followed by the West (68%) and the South (65%). The number falls to 62% in the Northeast.

Just over a third (33%) will try to link vacations with business trips to save time and money. Vacationing business owners in the West are much more likely (44%) to try to mix business with pleasure, while the Northeast reports the fewest respondents (25%) planning to combine the two.

Respondents also said that business concerns continue to weigh on their minds. Of those with vacation plans, 42% fret that an important client or customer will not receive an appropriate level of service. Security of their business facilities is a growing concern – 18% say they worry about security issues while away on vacation, up from 12% in 2004, and 8% from 2003.

Phone “Call”

To deal with those worries, 33% plan to check in by phone or e-mail just once a day, while 18% say they will check in several times a day – down from 24% in 2004.

Business owners who generate more than $200,000 in annual revenue are much more likely to treat themselves to at least one week of vacation this summer. According to the survey, 74% of respondents in the $200,000+ category will take a week off, versus six of 10 respondents who generate less than $200,000 in annual revenue.

The OPEN from American Express Semi-Annual Monitor, released each spring and fall, is based on a nationally representative sample of 627 small business owners/managers of companies with fewer than 100 employees. The survey was conducted via telephone by International Communications Research (ICR) from February 9 to February 22, 2005.