As a small business owner it’s important to take time away from work.
But worrying about whether your staff are meeting deadlines and suppliers are happy translates to even more stress. This can take away all the fun you should be having while on holiday.
With a little staff communication and planning beforehand, you needn’t worry that your business won’t be able to cope in your absence.
If you really can’t switch off from work mode or something urgent pops up, technology can be a great way to check in and make sure things are ticking along.
Letting go over a shutdown period
There’s no need to be overly anxious about your business during a shutdown period. The only things you need to prepare are a few basic precautions.
Back up all your important documents and information. Store the back-ups in a secure place off-site. It also makes sense to take this one step further and check that you can restore systems from your back-up.
Breathe easier by arranging for a responsible staff member or someone independent from your business to keep an eye on your business premises.
Alternatively, install security systems if you haven’t already: fire alarms/sprinkler systems, and break-in monitoring by a security firm.
It’s also a good idea to ensure you have the appropriate insurance covers in place. Make sure that these insurance policies haven’t lapsed before taking your leave.
Allowing staff to run your business
Trusting your staff to run your business for the first time requires a large dose of trust and faith. As long as you ensure that each member of your team is clear about what is expected of them, it is likely that they’ll manage just fine without you.
Delegating and putting good systems in place are the keys to a carefree holiday. You should:
- Plan for contingencies. What would you do if a staff member falls ill? Who should be contacted if there are any unexpected calamities?
- Discuss your team’s concerns, and your own.
- Pick the right people for the right jobs. This is a critical because, if you want your business to constantly operate well in your absence, you’ll be relying on your staff while you are away. It is essential that you prepare them.
- Make sure everyone is familiar with the contingency plans. Discuss, revise and practise them before your departure.
Establish clear lines of authority and communication
With the boss on holiday, other staff members have the opportunity to prove their worth. That’s why it is essential to let them know their responsibilities. Prepare written guidelines for them to remind them of their tasks to be completed.
Establish who will have contact with you. While you don’t want to be overburdened with messages, a brief one-line text message a day can be a comfort. Save phone calls for more serious concerns. Make sure everyone has each other’s contact numbers and that they know who to call in the event of an emergency.
Encourage your staff to work as a team. Make them understand that there’s no need to swamp you with minor issues they can fix. Develop in your staff a sense of responsibility and initiative.
Chances are that unless you hear from them, your employees are coping just fine. Email, text or phone them from time to time, but avoid micro-managing from afar. Make the most of your well-earned break instead.
Check in remotely
If you’re not able to let go entirely, advances in technology mean that you’re able to work remotely or even manage things from a distance. Yes, this means even from the beach.
All you need is the ability to communicate from anywhere, and technology is your link. Check whether you’ll have wireless or wired access to the Internet and a good mobile connection where you’re going.
If you need to buy new technology for this purpose, it isn’t wise to leave it until the last minute. You’ll want to be comfortable with the gadgets you are using. Set some time aside to set the gadgets up, test them thoroughly and study their features to know what you can use them for.
Ideally, you’ll have the ability to access and review business documents and ongoing projects through a server-based system. The cloud is your best friend when it comes to storing company documents centrally, accessing them and working on them with your team while on the go.
Understand that the most successful entrepreneurs are those who know the real definition of a holiday. Keep its value in mind so you are able to come back to your business with a renewed passion for working.