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Running your own business is an extremely time consuming task. It’s likely that you spend the majority of your waking hours in the office or doing something that will benefit the business – and that’s all part and parcel of it. However, there will come a time in your entrepreneurial life where you need or want some time off work. Whether this be due to a family vacation being booked, or an unexpected illness that’s taking you a while to get over, it’s important to have a plan in place so that your business doesn’t crumble in your absence. Taking leave from work can be made even harder if you’re the sole owner of your business, because you don’t have the option of simply relying on your partner to help you out. Check out what to do when you’re the boss and you need a break so that your business can stay afloat when you’re not there.
Get yourself a second in command
One thing that every successful business owner needs is a headstrong sidekick to help out as much as possible. This person should be trustworthy, up front, timely, strong willed and fair. All of the traits are important because you know that if they feel something isn’t right, that they can speak to you and tell you for the sake of the business. So, if you do need to step away from your business from time to time, you know that you can leave them in charge and keep the ship sailing.
If you’re not quite ready to pass on that kind of responsibility to someone, then why not promote a few members of staff to supervisor and management roles? While your side of the business might fall back in your absence, at least the main chunk of work and staff can continue like clockwork. Remember that it’s important to choose people with the best statistics within their role. For example, how fast and efficiently they can complete tasks, how well they deal with others and their attendance rate.
Use tools to help run your business
With the way that technology has progressed over the last decade or so, it’s now almost possible to run a business purely by machines. You’ve probably seen the self checkout systems at your local supermarket? This immediately eliminates the need for so many members of staff. While you’re not looking to necessarily cut down on manpower, having tools there to back you up in your absence will be most useful in keeping your mind at ease. Take a look at some of these tools that you can use within your business while you’re not there:
- Social media and scheduling tools – these are fantastic for keeping in touch with your customers and fans. However, when you’re on vacation it’s unlikely that you’re going to want to be sat on social media trying to promote your business. Use scheduling tools like Crowdfire to post for you and also help grow your following.
- Order management software will help keep all of your suppliers and buyers in one handy place. Even if you’re not the one manning it in your absence, it will make it so much easier for whoever is taking over the ordering and stock counts.
- Time management applications are also very useful for those that find it hard to delegate their work properly, and end up with a mountain of things to still complete at the end of each day. This could work well with keeping your staff on track when you’re not there.
Create a handbook
A really important thing to incorporate into your business regardless of whether you’re taking leave or not is to create and work by a handbook for you, your customers, and your staff members. This is so that if anyone is ever confused by a procedure that you expect them to carry out, they can check it for themselves. Your handbook should also contain guidelines on health and safety, and any regulations that you have that people should be following. Making your handbook as detailed as possible not only means that everyone knows exactly what they are doing, but also means that you’re not putting your business at risk of any health and safety lawsuits.
Having a handbook will also mean that your absence won’t be such a big deal for customers and staff members alike. Your staff members will be able to continue running business as normal.
Trust and teach your staff members
We touched earlier on getting yourself a second in command to help out in your absence. While this is a good idea, trusting and training all of your staff members will make both yours and their life much easier. Things like having everyone trained up on cashing up the till and also how to do an open and a shut down of your premises are all important skills to know.
Also, being able to trust your staff members in a situation like you not being there is the most important thing of all. You’re literally leaving the fate of your business up to your staff members. Put them through extensive training and be sure to enforce hierarchy for when you’re not there!
Consider a more mobile approach to your work
Finally, absence just isn’t something you want to take from work. These occurrences might happen when a family member becomes sick and you need to tend to them while they recover. This might involve you being out of town for a week or two and could make things much harder for your business. Consider a mobile office so that you’re able to still complete work and so that you don’t fall behind.