How small business owners can have a holiday, without neglecting their business
As a business owner you’re often the last to take a holiday. There is always so much to do, and then if your staff are away, you need to fill in – and of course, it can feel as though everything will come crashing down if you are not there to steer the ship.
So, how can you enjoy a well-deserved break with your family, whilst ensuring that the business carries on without you?
Fortunately, technology provides a range of ways for this to happen.
Holidays are important
The tips provided below are not designed to allow you to work from anywhere and never take that break. They are there to help you have a holiday, away from the business. Here’s why this is important:
- You need a break.
Everyone has to switch off at times. Exhaustion and stress build up and they hamper productivity if you don’t take time off to revitalise the body and refresh the mind. If you have a very small business, you have to accept that there will never be a great time to take time off, but it is needed.
- Quality control
Getting away is like servicing a car or getting a piano retuned. It’s about ensuring the quality is maintained, so that you continue to deliver a great product or service to your clients.
It gives you a chance to both practice delegation (something small business owners often struggle with) and to see how your team perform with new responsibilities. With a set of tools in place to help manage this, if they do get into real trouble, they know how to get hold of you.
- Your family
One of the key reasons for running your own business is that you make the rules and that should include putting time to one side to spend with your family. If that is difficult during a normal working week, it’s vital that you put aside your holidays to spend with them. Your kids grow up quickly and the time when they want to spend time with you can fly by. Once they are teenagers, they won’t want to spend any time with you…
Tools to Help you have a holiday with a real break from the business
- Mobile Phone
When you’re at home, your phone is rarely more than arm’s length away. Hopefully it is a bit further away when you’re on holiday (by the sun lounger or in the villa), but it’s highly likely you can still hear it or you check it fairly regularly.
Ensure your team know you should only be contacted in an emergency. For clients, let them know you are away and that you would prefer not to be contacted, but they can if necessary (they should be contacting your team anyway, if you’ve delegated responsibility).
Your phone also provides that invaluable tether to the internet, particularly if your holiday destination doesn’t provide a WiFi solution (or you are cyber-security conscious). Data plans travel with you across Europe (at least for now) and can be quickly changed to include the rest of the world (usually involving a per day fee from your mobile provider).
- Project Management Apps
More and more companies are using products such as Basecamp, Microsoft Teams and Trello. When you’re in work; they are invaluable for keeping you aware of what is happening and what work needs prioritising.
When you’re away, however, the volume of emails and notifications can become annoying. Remember to adjust the settings so that you are only notified every few hours, if at all.
- Focus Tools
If you absolutely must work for some of the holiday, it’s only right that it should be a short period of, concentrated and productive, time.
Focus tools such as the Quickstarter POD are, effectively, timers to help you concentrate on one thing at a time.
If you have been spending too much time working whilst on holiday, make sure your partner or kids don’t find out about Cold Turkey Blocker. It will lock you out of your Mac or PC for however long they set it for.
Another app to make you more productive if you do have to do a little work is RescueTime. Once we get online, it’s all too easy to be distracted off to blogs, forums and social media sites that then consume time at a rapid rate.
- Outsourced Help
When you are away, that doesn’t mean the phone will stop ringing. It doesn’t mean you don’t need a consistent flow of marketing activity happening.
Companies such as Answer will cover your phones for as little as 90p per call. They then text and email you (or a member of your team) so you can respond as needed. Virtual Marketing companies will ensure your marketing activity continues to flow, if you don’t have something like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule activity before you do.
So next time your family starts to put pressure on you to take time off, you really have no excuse. You may have to negotiate dates- but taking time off doesn’t mean your business will suffer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Young is Director of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox. Gary works with companies, charities and other organisations to help them choose the right telecoms packages for their needs and thereby reduce their costs. He is particularly knowledgeable on the integration of IT and telecoms in business. www.equinoxcomms.co.uk