5 Things To Keep In Mind About Your Business While You’re On Vacation
As a business owner, you think about your business all the time – even when you shouldn’t be thinking about it. You’ve invested your heart and soul into your company, so it’s no wonder you worry about protecting your business when you aren’t there. It’s understandable that you’re concerned about your investment, but you need to balance your life and have some “me” time, too. You might be the boss, but you need vacations, and if you want to keep things on an even keel with your significant other, you’d better not be checking in with the office every five minutes while you’re sunbathing in Waikiki! You can keep your business safe and profitable even when you’re not there. Let me give you five things to keep in mind.
1. Talk to Your Customers
Your customers will miss you the most while you’re on vacation. You’ve built relationships with these people and they don’t want to call or come into your business and find you gone. Let your customers know that you’re going to be gone and for how long. This gives you the opportunity to address any concerns they may have surrounding your absence, as well as give them the contact information for the person who will be working in your stead. Make certain you also update your social media pages, your voice mail, and turn on your email’s out-of-office reply to ensure that anyone you missed knows you’re gone and when you’ll be back. I talk a lot about business security systems, but keeping your customer’s happy “secures” your business most of all.
2. Check Off That To-Do List
Take a look at your calendar, agenda, or whatever you use to guide your business day, and make certain any important tasks that you must handle are completed before your flight takes off. You need to delegate your business responsibilities to trusted staff while you are gone, but there are certain things that only you, as boss, can do. Anything bank account related – where you’re the only authorized signatory – paying the bills, or payroll, for example, should be completed prior to your trip. For one thing, you’re protecting your business by doing the tasks yourself. Even if you trust your right-hand person, giving them access to confidential information they wouldn’t otherwise have is not a good idea. Secondly, once you’ve crossed those important tasks off your to-do list, you won’t be worrying about them while you’re away.
3. Sit Down With Your Employees
You will have to delegate some tasks to your employees, and it’s best to determine what those tasks are and who is best to handle them a couple of weeks before your scheduled vacation. This gives you time to explain what’s expected of each employee and perform any necessary training. For example, if your business security plan includes access to CCTV monitoring equipment away from the office, you need to select the employee who will be in charge of that and ensure their home computer is set up to receive any security feeds. Decide who does what and talk with each them, explaining thoroughly what their additional responsibilities will entail. Then talk with all of your employees to address any questions or concerns each may have while you’re away.
4. Set a Check-In Schedule… and Stick to It!
Even though you’ve completed items one through three on my list, you’re still going to be obsessing over the office during your vacation. To ease your mind, set up a schedule with your employees to check in and then stick to it. You will anger your employees if you’re calling every day, because they will feel as if you don’t trust them and are checking up on them. Keep everyone, including yourself, happy by having quick 10 to 15 minute check-in meetings with your staff to address any unexpected issues that arise during your absence. How often you should have those meetings depends on your business, your trust in the people you left in charge, and your family’s tolerance. I would say keep them to a minimum, however. Remember, you’re on vacation, so let go and enjoy yourself!
5. Design an Emergency Plan
Even with check-in meetings, emergencies might still occur while you’re gone, and this is why so many business owners avoid going on vacation at all. Not good. You can have your cake and eat it too. You just need to train your employees on what to do in case of an emergency. Determine what constitutes an emergency, write it down, include your contact information – especially your hotel’s number just in case you forget to pack your cell phone charger – go over the emergency plan with your employees, print it out, and give a copy to everyone. You already have an emergency plan set in place as part of your business security plan, now document what your employees need to do, and how to contact you, should critical situations arise in your absence.
Protecting your business is easy to do if you adequately prepare your customers, employees, and yourself while you’re away on vacation. Plus, these five strategies work for any type of absence, not just your much-needed time off. When you’re going to be away from your business for an extended period of time, you need to know that your business will be okay. Come up with and stick to a game plan that keeps everyone at ease and your business secure while you’re away working on your suntan!