Will you be ‘switching off’ this summer?
There’s no doubt that technology has brought immeasurable benefits to the modern-day business owner. With smart phones, wifi and hosted desktops, you can keep track of everything that’s going on at all times, never missing an important call or email. However, today’s ‘always on’ world also has a downside…A recent survey found that 30% of business owners will have to work at least once a day whilst on holiday. Although most business owners would say they didn’t mind and would rather be kept ‘in the loop’, dipping in and out of work during annual leave means many business owners will fail to properly ‘switch off’.
So with the summer holidays upon us, how can you position yourself to be able to get a break?
It’s amazing how many businesses fail to have set processes in place when it comes to their workflow, relying instead on the knowledge and experience of individuals. Although this is fine when a business is starting out, if there are plans to grow or scale up, set processes can make a big difference. Look at each area of the business and consider whether there should be a process in place. For example, how are quotes generated? Is there a process for briefing a customer’s requirements? How is information passed to accounts for work to be invoiced? Without a workflow to follow and the tools to support this, vital stages can easily get missed, and there is often too much reliance on key individuals. In an ideal world, anybody with the right skills should be able to come in and pick up where someone else left off.
Laying out processes can go a long way to streamlining the everyday running of a business but without the support of systems, you can only get so far. The availability and quality of software for the SME market has grown significantly over the last few years. From accounting systems to hosted desktop, CRM’s to industry-specific software, companies are now able to access enterprise-level systems for an affordable price. Choosing a system can take a bit of trial and error, but finding the right one often leaves business owners wondered how they managed before!
Many systems are based on the cloud, which means business owners are able to access data at any point in time from any location. With the knowledge that information is being captured and they are able to login whenever they choose, this can allow business owners some peace of mind.
Having the right processes and systems in place is one thing, but if you don’t trust the people you’re leaving in charge to get on with the job, you’re never going to be able to switch off when you’re out of the office. We’ve got a blog about having the right people on the bus, which looks at the importance of having people with the right attitude, and giving them the right role to be able to thrive. But even with the right people on board, business owners are sometimes their own worst enemy – lacking the ability to delegate successfully! Time and effort also needs to be put into honing the right management style – it’s important that staff feel supported and able to make decisions on their own.
These ideas aren’t a quick fix and may take weeks or even months to put in place. But when it comes to going on holiday next time, you’ll be able to rest assured that everything is in place – so you can sit back and relax!