On a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is the highest, how would you rate the ability of your business to operate effectively if you were on vacation?
If you score around 8–10, you must have well-structured business functionality in place. If you feel you are in between 4-7, there may be systems and processes in place, but they are not working as well as expected. If you’re between 1-3 or you think you can’t ever leave your business, then please read on.
Most business owners are wary of taking time off in case something goes wrong while they are away. How long since you had a REAL vacation? One where you only needed to peek into your inbox every now and then while you were away or call your staff to check if things are going ok?
We all deserve a break – timeout from work stress to relax and recharge!
Setting up your business to run without you is important to the success of your business and to your health and wellbeing. Listed below is our checklist to prepare for the worry free vacation you truly deserve.
HAVE EFFECTIVE SYSTEMS IN PLACE
Having effective systems in place will result in your business becoming less reliant on you. Map out the work flow processes of your company as well as all the systems that make up steps in the process. You can develop training materials, operation guides, policies and procedures. Your staff won’t have to guess what to do next when you are away and these documents will also make it much easier to train new staff.
Creating an effective system for your business does take time and should be well thought out. Some other systems and processes you can develop in your business are a referral process, system for handling customer complaints, lead generation systems, a tender process, policies and procedures for social media – the list is endless as you can create a system for almost every aspect of your business.
HAVE THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN THE RIGHT SEATS
You need your people to answer calls, attend to customer deliveries, meet daily sales targets and ensure the business is running smoothly whilst you are away.
Having the right people in the right seats helps them to effectively and efficiently carry out the day-to-day operations of your business. Micromanaging people simply won’t allow you to take off for a beach holiday, so it is important that you train your staff to carry out business tasks and cover for your absence. For sole practitioners, you could perhaps arrange for a trusted colleague to attend to your client’s urgent needs or hire someone who could answer calls, attend to social media accounts and prepare quotes.
LET PEOPLE KNOW YOU WILL BE AWAY
As a small business owner, you need to have a contingency plan ready well ahead of your holiday. Advise your customers of your absence and how long you will be away. Assure them that your staff are capable of giving the same quality product or service whilst you are away. Let them know the person who they can reach in case of emergencies.
Don’t forget also to set up an auto responder email so people will be reminded that you are away and won’t be available for a period of time. It is unrealistic to completely disconnect yourself from calls and emails. You could set aside maybe an hour a day for answering urgent emails or calls.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CLOUD
As we don’t have a physical office at GGA, we make sure the ‘office’ comes with us. There are various inexpensive means to enable remote access to your office computer from the convenience of a web browser. You can ask your IT service provider to set up a remote desktop access or you can try online tools such as GotoMyPC or LogMeIn. We also use Dropbox for cloud storage so we can access our files anytime, anywhere. Our CRM solution software allows us to stay connected with our customer database and activities through mobile access. There are also many other tools in accounting, office systems and customer service that you can take advantage of while you are away on vacation.
WIND DOWN AND RELAX
We always like to be in control of our business. We want to know what’s going on and we want to be on top of every situation. It doesn’t need to be that way if you have good systems in place. Once you have a trained team and good systems in place to ensure your business will run smoothly and your customers are all informed that you will be away, it’s time to pack your bags! You know you deserve a break so let your business run without you for a while. Start planning your vacation and you will soon see the benefits of a well-earned rest.
Now it’s your turn! Tell us how you envision your next REAL vacation and when you are planning to take it?
Looking forward to sharing your feedback and bon voyage!