When Taking a Holiday Can Be Beneficial for Your Business

When Taking a Holiday Can Be Beneficial for Your Business

Planning on taking a well-earned holiday?  It may just be the most beneficial thing for your business!

You see, the most valuable businesses are the ones that can survive without their owner. If your business cannot run without you, then you have a job, not a business.

For some, taking a break is a scary thought. The picture of returning to not just a few ‘spot fires’ (challenges), but to a raging inferno, can turn a well-earned break into sleepless nights.

So here are a few things to ease your mind, when taking an extended break from your business, to see how things run when you’re not there.  It’s likely that some things will go wrong but use those errors as the fuel for making your business operate more independently of you – and therefore more valuable. 
Here is a five-step plan for profiting from your break:

Step 1: Schedule your break plus one day
Whatever day you plan to start working again after your break, tell your team you’ll be back one day later. That way, you’ll have a full day of uninterrupted time to dedicate to understanding what went wrong in your absence.

Step 2: Bucket the breakdowns
When you return, make a summary of the things that went wrong (breakdowns) and categorise them into one of three buckets:

  • Mistakes: errors where there is a right and wrong answer.
  • Bottlenecks: projects that had difficulties because you weren’t available to provide your feedback.
  • Stalled projects: initiatives that went nowhere while you were gone because you were the one leading them.

 Step 3: Fix the processes
The first and easiest place to start is to simply correct the errors that were made. Usually these are due to a lack of written procedures or training rather than outright negligence. The right answer may be crystal clear in your head but not immediately obvious to your team. Write up a checklist, set of instructions or a procedure for next time employees face the same situation. Make sure your procedures are clear, training is provided and then share them with your team so everyone has them (a file sharing service like Google Drive, One Drive or Drobox can be a useful storage place for your documents).

Step 4: Unblock your bottlenecks
If you’re being asked for your personal input on projects, there’s probably going to be a bottleneck if you’re not around. Make sure your team are clear on the projects where you need to have a say and the projects where you don’t. Some employees may wrongly think that you need to approve all decisions. Make it clear when you want them to act alone and when you still need to have input. The additional part of this is give them support and training in how to come up with solutions to any problems that may occur, and then how to evaluate what is best. It is also important to ‘never’ reprimand someone for making an incorrect decision when you have asked them to do so, without your input!

Step 5:  Re-assign stalled projects
The hardest part of making your business less dependent on you is dealing with projects that get stalled when you’re away. Start by asking yourself if you’re the right person to lead the project in the first place. As the business owner, projects can often fall in your lap by default, rather than because you’re the best person to lead them.

Categorise your stalled projects into two groups:

  1. a) Big picture, long-term, strategic projects you need to lead; and
  2. b) Day to day, operational, non-strategic projects you are leading by default.

Hang on to the strategic projects but delegate the non-strategic projects to someone on your team who is better suited to drive them forward.

 With the five steps above, creating a systems/procedures manual, with all the key operational tasks documented is one of the most important items that you can create to increase the value of your company. Chat with one of the team at PROTRADE United to help guide you in this process.

So go ahead, take your break, and if you follow these five steps, you may end up having a relaxing time and a more valuable business in the process!

Written by Jon Mailer
CEO& Founder

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