You invested your time, energy, money, and heart into building your lingerie retail shop. You love it, but sometimes you need to take a well-deserved vacation. Does this sound familiar? You are not alone!
According to a study by Glassdoor and Harris Poll, nearly half of all Americans only use half their vacation time. Work pressures is one reason. The study looked at a general population. If these pressures are felt by most employees, small business owners may struggle even more.
With strategy and planning, you can take a vacation without risking your business. These ten tips and strategies may open the door for you to take that vacation and return to work refreshed.
10 Tips for Effectively Managing Your Business During A Vacation
1. Consider whether you want to stay open.
First, consider whether your shop needs to stay open while you are away. Some very small retailers and restaurants close during vacations. As a business owner, the choice is yours. If you choose to close, be sure you plan ahead so your most loyal customers are not surprised.
If you have a few good team members, you may find it better to keep the shop open during your vacation. Most of the tips in this article assume that you chose this option.
2. Plan ahead.
Whether you choose to close your business or keep it open you want to plan ahead. Advance planning gives you the opportunity to work through any foreseeable situations and to put a plan in place for emergencies. Planning also lets you wrap up any big projects so your staff simply maintains your business while you are away.
3. Delegate a replacement.
Many small businesses have a flat structure. Sometimes everyone reports directly to the owner. While you are away, you will need to have your staff report to a deputy. If you have an assistant manager, that is the obvious choice. In the weeks or months leading up to your vacation, train your deputy in all aspects of the business that can't wait until you return home.
4. Set up your emergency alert system.
Many business owners feel like their business is one of their babies. This is only human since you may be the founder who nurtured the business to the current level of maturity. Rest assured, with modern communication and travel technologies you can usually respond to any emergency almost immediately.
Plan your emergency alert system before you leave. Some questions to consider include:
How do you want employees to contact you? (Text, phone, email, Facebook Messenger?)
What do you consider an emergency? This will vary depending on how you run your business and your personal comfort level.
Who do you want to hear from? Some may prefer to give one key staff member their emergency contact information while others may prefer to share that information with the whole team.
Be sure to communicate your expectations with everyone who is authorized to contact you during your vacation.
5. Take time for a trial run.
Once you have your day-to-day and emergency plans in place, give it a trial run before your vacation. Allow your deputy to take the lead for a week or two leading up to your trip. By taking the time to do this, you may feel more relaxed on your vacation knowing your business is in good hands.
6. Check in for briefings.
If you are away for just a long weekend, you may want to skip this tip. However, if you are traveling abroad for a month you may want to schedule regular check-ins with one or more staff members. If you train your staff well and have an emergency system, chances are they can run your business while you are away. However, everyone might feel more confident if you periodically check in and give guidance on any non-urgent matters that arise.
7. Set your boundaries.
The last few tips focus on staff communication while you are away. However, you are on vacation because you want or need a break from routine. Check in with yourself about your boundaries. Do you want to limit the time you spend thinking about work?
8. Set up an autoresponder or appoint someone to manage your messages.
Chances are you built your success by immediately responding to phone calls and email messages. Setup forwarding, voicemail messages, and autoresponder email messages so people know when they can expect to hear from you and who to reach out to while you are away. This seems simple, but so many people overlook these small details.
9. Pay bills before you leave.
Speaking of small details, pay your bills before you leave whenever possible. You will enjoy a more peaceful vacation if a frantic staff member doesn't call about an angry supplier. This small step might proactively eliminate some of the more frequent small business emergencies.
10. Notify suppliers and key contacts before you leave.
Notify your landlord, vendors, suppliers, service providers, local police or any other key contacts of your vacation plans. Let them know who your deputy is in case they need to reach someone.
With a few strategies in place, you can run your business and enjoy a well-deserved vacation.
Featured image via royalty-free stock photo
Tags: Health and Wellness