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Are you taking time off this Easter?

By Jon Peterman on 26/03/2018 - 0 Comments

There are various surveys around the amount of holiday small business owners take.

As with all surveys the results vary but in a recent survey conducted on behalf of Xero it stated that 76% of small business owners have sacrificed holiday to keep their business running.  Another survey reports that over 30% of small business owners never take holiday. 

So where do you sit? and how can you implement some strategies in your business that will help you take more holiday or even take any holiday at all. 

Those who know me well, have seen me presenting business seminars or at networking events will sometimes refer to me as “the man with the towel”.  Why is that?  Well it’s simple.  I use a brightly coloured beach towel as a prop whilst talking about the link between having a well organised and managed business and how often a business owner takes holiday. 

In fact one of the first questions I would ask a business owner when determining the strength of their business is “how long could you leave your business with only limited phone access and return to find it still viable”. Answers vary from days to weeks but often have a caveat of “but my business is different”.

A number of years ago I was talking with a sole trader in the IT world who as you would imagine was struggling to take time away. Shortly after that conversation I met another IT sole trader at a networking event. 

Having done some due diligence on both of them I introduced both of them with a view to them forming an alliance and covering each other when they were away. This was a simple but very effective approach.  A number of years later they have both grown and take time off covered by their own staff, however they now specialise in different areas of IT and pass opportunities between each other so still benefiting from their alliance.

So what are some of the key things you should do in order to be able to take quality time off for Easter 2019?  Well like everything in business you need a goal, a plan, key milestones, objectives and strategies. 

So let’s start with a Goal, all goals should be SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time stamped).  So the goal is to take one weeks holiday for Easter 2019, you may wish to add in an additional point about only contacting the office once at the start of each day or something similar. Whilst this is not ideal it may be the most appropriate approach and a way to make the goal for 2019 Realistic and Achievable. 

"So how do I do that?" I hear you ask. 

Well the other phrase people will hear me say all the time is ‘Delegate don’t Abdicate’.  For your team to be able to run your business effectively without you it is vital that you have a solid process to delegate relevant tasks and responsibilities and that you have some Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) in place. Here are some key steps you can take in order to start down the road.

You will need to consider these steps for all key areas of the business such as sales, operations, finance etc.

As you will realise taking a well-deserved holiday to re charge your batteries is only one of the many benefits of having a well-structured business.  I was never sure when in a former life in the corporate world my team used to tell me when I returned from holiday that the division had run better without me, whether I should have been offended. 

Put a plan in place for next Easter and see how you feel when you return from holiday and your team tell you the business ran better without you. Make sure that your key activities are well taken care of and you have a well manged set of KPI’s that demonstrate how well the business is to be managed while you are away.

As for me I will be taking a week off this Easter and I am happy to say so will some of my clients and even the majority of those that won’t be will be doing so because they chose to, not because they had no option.

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