No matter what stage your business is at, leaving it at the hands of others while going on vacation will always be scary. We won’t be surprised if you haven’t taken a real vacation in years just because you always want to ensure the perfect continuity of your business.
What if there was a way for you to take the break of your dreams without diminishing the quality of service your clients expect from your business?
Here are seven tips to help you get this done.
#1 Plan Ahead
A reason why you might not feel confident going on that break is that you didn’t plan for it.
Deciding to go on a vacation in the spur of the moment will leave you with the realization that there are a lot of tasks at hand. This would not be the case if you have, say, been planning to go on a vacation for the past six months.
When the latter is the case, you must map out what tasks you need to complete by the time you leave, what can be shelved for later, and other processes that are not so time-sensitive.
#2 Notify Clients
While your clients will always expect their deliverables, they also know that you need some time off if you will keep delivering at high quality. Thus, part of the planning process is letting your clients know beforehand that you would be on vacation.
This ensures they also plan their operations and processes around your away time. By doing so, your absence won’t affect their businesses and lives since you have eased the shock ahead of time.
Likewise, that is the best way to ensure they can submit their projects for completion before you go away and don’t turn to your competitor during your absence.
#3 Hire Trusted Hands
There are many ways your small business can benefit from effective workload delegation, but hiring trusted hands right from start trumps that.
This does not mean that we do not support the delegation of tasks. However, of what use would delegation be if you cannot trust the hands you are leaving those tasks in?
Thus, ensure your recruitment processes looks out for those who can get your job done. It would even be to your advantage if they can get the job done better than you – especially if motivated enough to get that done.
This way, you are still important to the company, but not too indispensable that leaving the helm of operations for a while means things go south.
Not many things could hurt your business as much as losing the data that it has accrued over time. This could be anything from personnel sheet, tasks planning calendar, completed and pending tasks, and employee data to client information.
No matter what it is, keeping this data in the first place means that it is important.
Now that you won’t be around for a while, ensuring the business’ data is safe at every time should be one of your main priorities. Thus, it would not hurt to invest in a data backup plan that works for small businesses– and you can rest assured that you won’t lose any sensitive data while away from the business.
#5 Automation is Key
Automation tools – and just how affordable they can be – is one of the many miracles that come with these times we live in. Depending on the business you run, there are specific tasks that you can automate.
An important consideration for automation is your email. Plenty of email clients (such as Yahoo Mail, Google Mail, etc.) now have an in-built vacation responder to inform your clients that you are not currently around.
You can customize the email to let them know when you will be back in the office, as well as another point of contact (if available) should they need urgent attention. Of course, this point of contact would be someone whom you have authorized to attend to such matters.
Likewise, orders fulfillment, customer requests handling, marketing and data extractions, among others, are core areas of a business that can be automated till you get back.
This piece aims to ensure you can enjoy your holiday, but it never hurts to check in from time to time too.
While running your business, you must discipline yourself to keep to opening hours and leave at closing (or way beyond closing) times. We want you to apply such discipline here, too, ensuring you are only checking in at designated points of the day.
The recommended period for check-in is very early in the morning before you go about your vacation itinerary. Dedicating about an hour or two of your mornings should be enough to catch up, attend to urgent tasks, and again, delegate the rest to capable hands.
#7 Trust your Team
Believe it or not, this is as important as any other piece of advice on this list.
Going on a vacation and letting the team you work with handle things demonstrates how much you trust in their skills and abilities. You will also give the team a chance to learn new things, grow, and even become better at the business than ever before.
When you keep checking in at intervals, though, they subconsciously register the fact that you don’t trust them. Worst of all, they start believing that they are not even capable of doing things without your oversight.
That is not the impression you want to create in the hearts of your team. You don’t have to give the business over completely. Provide them with sufficient liberty to handle tasks that don’t require your immediate attention. You might learn a lot about your team.
Have you had to go on a vacation before while leaving your business behind? Let us know how you ensured everything was going on smoothly while you were away – and how long you were away for too.
Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets and binge-watches his favorite TV shows. Follow him on @bmorepeters