How I Left My Business For A Month & Made It Stronger

kelowna accountantHow does an entrepreneur take a month long vacation and manage to come back to a functioning, or dare I say, thriving business?

When you go on vacation for a week, even if you don’t answer emails or return phone calls, just about everything in your business can be dealt with the next week. When you’re gone for 3-4 weeks, it can’t wait. It has to be dealt with so somebody must pick up the ball and deal with it.

I recently came off from taking a month long vacation that included zero emails, phone calls or social media. For a long time I didn’t think it was possible either but it was and my business became stronger because of it.

You can do it and come back to a stronger business than you had before. Here’s how it happened to me.

There Are Benefits Beyond Downtime

The biggest realization when I came back from vacation was that it could actually work. I’ve been telling my clients for years that they need to take an extended break, whether it’s because they are thinking about selling their business or simply to rejuvenate themselves.

If you ever want to sell your business, it won’t be worth much if the ship can’t sail with the captain away for a few weeks. The best way to challenge your staff is to force them to make decisions without you around. They end up figuring out ways to be resourceful without you and make your entire business grow for the better.

Do You Have A Job or a Business?

If you can create the type of processes that will run the show while you’re away, the most amazing realization you will find is that you have a business just works.

It’s a combination of the right people, the right systems and working with the right clients that fit seamlessly with the whole model before you get this little engine that can continually move itself forward.

Here’s a potentially painful question you need to ask yourself…if you have to micromanage every aspect of your business all the time to the point that you can’t take a real vacation, do you have a job or a business?

The Key Is Proper Planning

I’m not saying that you should up and leave your business without doing any planning. I have to admit, I planned for over a year to make this happen and there is nothing wrong with that.

Everybody’s schedules were organized, our clients were sorted out and everyone knew where the work was and who was handling it. We put some emergency protocols in place, in case any surprises came up and having those contingency plans really helped me rest comfortably while my Blackberry remained in a dark, isolated corner.

As long as you put a plan in place, it can happen.

How To Avoid A Tsunami of Emails

We set a system in place that had somebody reviewing all the emails coming in and then they were distributing them to somebody else that could actually deal with them. If they couldn’t be dealt with and they could wait for the length of time I was away, then my team member would flag that email with a special flag.

The first day I came back I reviewed all the emails that had flags. There wasn’t a lot because most emails can be dealt with by other people. You do have to have a system in place to make sure your emails don’t get backed up because that will be all you can think about while you’re away and you won’t truly have a vacation.

You Will Find Your True Star Employees

Going through this process helps you identify your stars and learn who can truly handle some extra weight. This type of information is paramount when bringing your organization to the next level.

You shouldn’t just revert back to the way things were before you left for vacation, you need to take that opportunity for evolution and growth. You did this for a reason and you’ve challenged your team to get outside of their comfort level.

There is no sense in going back to the old ways after making this kind of progress inside your business. After all, if you have faith in your ability to build a great team and faith in your team, why wouldn’t it work?

What Will Your Clients Say?

There is no question that my biggest concern was what my clients would think if I took a month off. As the name implies, service-based industries are about servicing clients so how can you serve them if you’re not physically there?

You have to make sure that your team is ready to service them.

That was my biggest concern…will my clients think that I’m not servicing them if I’m not around?

What I actually found out when I came back is that my clients had been cheering me on because I’ve been telling them to do the same thing for years. The even more beautiful thing was that they felt more empowered to try it themselves after seeing it was possible with me.

If I couldn’t do it myself, how could I advise others to do it? How could I reasonably say that is the “right way” for someone else if I wasn’t comfortable enough to try it myself?

Just Do It

In the words of Nike’s famous slogan, just do it. Make the decision to do it and plan appropriately.

If you do the right planning and can actually leave your business for a month, I can guarantee you will absolutely return to a stronger business when you get back.

 

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