There’s nothing more rewarding than running your own business. However, many small business owners will tell you they find it difficult to take time off. Unless you have 100% confidence in your staff to manage things without you, it can be tempting to always be around, sacrificing your personal time to keep the business running.
But we all know that’s not sustainable in the long term. No matter how busy we are and how much our business relies on us, we all need to take time off to rejuvenate or spend time with our families. And the good news is, the introduction of cloud based technologies and global internet access means business owners can now take leave, travelling to just about anywhere in the world while still dipping in and keeping an eye on things remotely.
Find the right technology
First and foremost, implementing the right technologies which allow you to run your business remotely is imperative. Cloud based services are essential to any business owner wanting to work away from the office. Applications like Asana to manage your to-do lists, Slack to collaborate on projects, Receipt Bank to manage receipts remotely and Skype to stay in touch with your team are just some of the technologies you’ll need to look into to ensure you have access to your business and keep communicating with staff while you’re away.
Develop communication processes
Living in Australia means that anytime you travel a reasonable distance, you end up in a completely different time zone. But don’t let this stop you from taking a month in Hawaii or going skiing in the Alps – you can still run your business remotely, even if you’re on the other side of the world. They key is putting communication processes in place while you’re away. Find a window of time that will suit both you and your staff, making yourself available to answer questions via Skype within that specific timeframe; you’ll be amazed by how efficient your staff becomes when they’re given such strict parameters to work with.
Plan your time
There’s not much point in taking a well-deserved getaway if all you ever see is the inside of your hotel room. The key to working while on leave is setting yourself limits and being strict about the number of hours you work in a day. Be available to your team and ensure you keep things moving, but be realistic about how much time you have to give and make sure you plan time for sightseeing or spending time with loved ones to make the trip worthwhile.
Empower your team
Many of us work with highly capable staff members who are quite capable of more responsibility. But if you’re always around to help out and answer questions, they can often end up relying on you to problem solve rather than thinking for themselves. By stepping away, you’re not only giving yourself a well-deserved break, but you’re helping empower your team to learn how to get things done on their own. Before you leave, have a meeting with your team to brainstorm any potential issues and come up with solutions in advance, so they feel more confident about handling things in your absence.
Having your own business can completely take over your life. And as much as we all need a break sometimes, there’s something about being needed that feeds our egos. After all, if your business can run without you, then what exactly is your purpose? It’s a common concern; but the fact is, if you’ve set up your business properly, it should be able to run without you. If it does, this means you’ve trained your staff well, you’ve put the right systems and processes in place, and created a successful business that functions independently of you. So don’t be afraid to let go, because if you can, and your business doesn’t fall apart, it means you’ve really succeeded in creating something viable
We’re incredibly fortunate to live in a world where technology allows us to communicate with our team and run our business from anywhere in the world. So if you haven’t taken time away from your business yet, stop putting it off and start planning your next trip away. Not only will it benefit you and your staff, but it will help you implement more efficient systems and processes which will give you a better work/life balance throughout the year.
About the author:
Tim Hoopmann is the CEO and founder of Cornerstone, a bookkeeping business specialising in cloud services. Following his years of experience as a consultant and business owner, Tim is now passionate about helping other businesses make the transition to being fully digitised to allow for greater freedom and work/life balance for business owners and employees alike. http://www.timhoopmann.com/