Being a business owner is hard: balancing different departments and the issues they bring while pushing your business to grow and generate more revenue. Is there space for personal time in all this? A chance to get away and take a vacation? Many business owners feel as though, in fact, they can’t go away on vacation. They think they don’t have time to step away from their business to relax and recharge their batteries for fear that their business will suffer. But is this really the case? With today’s technology, keeping your business running and having that piece of mind should now be easier and more manageable. Let’s take a look at some of the ways technology can help.
What is there to be anxious about?
The possible reasons for a business owner to be reticent about going on vacation are many. Their absence may create a great deal of uncertainty in the business owner’s mind about how the company is going to run. This is especially the case if good business forecasting procedures are not in place. Without the requisite planning and foresight, it's difficult for a decision-makers within the business to formulate plans for what's going to happen and when.
Standardizing and automating removes a lot of the guesswork and on-the-fly decision-making that often falls to the business owner. Not having these systems in place can be a cause of a lot of the anxiety about running a business and serves as a particular pain point and reason to avoid vacation time.
Alternately, perhaps the business owner worries that they won't be cognizant about what is going on. Business owners often worry about their ability to make informed decisions should something major happen while they are out. After a short time out, will they have the necessary reading of a particular situation to make decisions to resolve a situation and keep the business running successfully? Are there other employees at the company who are able to step in and assume this decision-making role? Businesses are often organized so that the owner is the key stakeholder--the one who has all the knowledge, planning skills, and foresight with their own head. When the owner goes on vacation, this extraordinarily important piece of the day-to-day business is removed and, as a result, the business is set up to experience trouble.
Putting systems in place to help standardize processes
Business owners can take an enormous step toward confidence in their business’s ability to run without them by standardizing many of the processes within their company. This doesn't have to be a complex network of systems by any means. Even something as simple as creating document templates in Word and Excel can prevent issues from arising and keep your business running smoothly. In fact, these templates can be something to build upon and develop within a concrete process. For example, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can be used to track and handle your inventory.
These systems can help set the standards to run your business. Once they are established and in use, companies can utilize the flexibility within those systems to be more productive. For instance, by setting rules within templates and an entire process, whether a sale or completion of service, can be handled and documented systematically, with little, if any, out-of-the-norm involvement from the business owner.
Standardized systems can also help you analyze and forecast what your business is facing in a particular period and how to best allocate resources during that time. Say for instance, through your analysis you discover that July is a typically quiet month for your business with little out of the ordinary--perhaps that would be an excellent to take a well-earned vacation. Having this data from the past and extrapolating it to the future helps business owners take advantage. Ideally, these forecasting systems are built into the automated systems discussed above. This enables ongoing analysis to be available with little ongoing input from the business’s stakeholders.
Putting systems in place also includes the employees of the company. By taking the time to hire, empower, and train the right people, the business owner can relax knowing there are people on hand to ensure everything runs smoothly. Systems alone don’t solve issues, but working ahead of time to nurture your back-up staff certainly goes a long way.
Gaining insight into your business while you’re gone
Another strategy for ensuring that the business owner can feel comfortable taking a vacation is to establish processes and systems to establish insight into the business for the absent owner. This may even include the basic step of having a smartphone with email capability or instant messaging and remote desktop--some vehicle to have direct communication with those in the office. Similarly, contact integration allows the owner to have clients' contact information at their fingertips.
Depending on the nature of the business in question, technology can provide the connection needed for monitoring and adjusting business practices from afar. Internet-based video cameras allow the owner to view exactly what's going on at a place of work. This can be a particularly useful option for warehouse operations--employees are communicating that everything is running smoothly, but can you see it live?
There are many options for providing insight into a business. A software development company can create a portal or app that reads data from existing systems and places it in a simple format allowing one aspect of a business to be monitored. Ideally, the information process being viewed by the business owner has already been standardized, giving them only the pertinent information necessary to give peace of mind.
To go one step further, systems are available, like an ERP, to tie all of these options together. Standardized, synchronized systems that feed and interact with each other, provide access to change things out of the office. Consequently, these business automation solutions enable business owners to make overrides and adjustments easily while enjoying their hard-earned vacation.
Business owners can take steps to make certain the appropriate systems, employees, and technology are in place to ease their fears. Many business owners have the personality of wanting to be constantly involved. Taking these steps should alleviate many of these concerns and enable the business owner to relax and be ready with renewed energy on their return.
Are you a business owner who has trouble leaving their business to take a vacation? If so, what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.
If you would like to learn more about how a business can run effectively while its owner is on vacation and how business software can help, don’t hesitate to contact us today to speak with an experienced business software expert.