Now is the perfect time to head out to that overdue vacation. Americans in general, and especially business owners, take less time off compared to those in many other countries. Even when we do leave for vacation, many of us are still checking emails and bringing our laptops to squeeze in some work. In addition to the health benefits of taking some time off from work, your business could also benefit.
Running on Autopilot
A recent survey by The Value Builder Score found companies that would perform well without their owner for a period of three months are 50% more likely to get an offer to be acquired when compared to more owner-dependent businesses. The better your company runs on autopilot, the more valuable it will be when you’re ready to sell.
To gauge your company’s ability to handle your absence, start by taking a vacation. Leave your computer at home and hide email notifications on your phone. Upon your return, you’ll probably discover that your employees got resourceful and found answers to a lot of the questions they would have asked you if you had been just down the hall. That’s a good thing and a sign you should start planning an even longer vacation.
You’ll also likely come back to an inbox full of issues that need your personal attention. Instead of finding answers to each problem in a frenzied attempt to clean up your inbox, slow down and look at each issue through the lens of a possible problem with your people, systems or authorizations.
Identifying and Fixing Issues
Start with your people and answer the following questions:
- Why did this problem end up on my desk?
- Who else is qualified to answer this question and why was that person not consulted?
- If nobody else is qualified, who can be trained to answer this question in the future?
Next, look at your systems and procedures. Could the issue have been dealt with if you had a system or a set of rules in place? The best systems are hardwired and do not require human interpretation; but if you’re not able to lock down a technical fix, then at least give employees a set of rules to follow in the future.
You may be a bottleneck in your own company if you’re trying to control spending too much. Employees may know what to do but do not have any means of paying for the fix they know you would want. For example:
- Putting in place a customer service rule in place that gives your front-line staff the authority to make a customer happy in any way they see fit provided it could be done for under $100
- Allowing an employee to spend a specific amount with a specific supplier each month without coming to you first
- Giving an employee an annual budget for an amount they can spend without seeking your approval
Given the fires that may need to be extinguished after the fact, taking a vacation may seem more of a hassle than it’s worth. But if you transform the aftermath of a vacation into systems and training that allow employees to act on their own, you’ll find the vacation is worth what you paid for it many times over: your company will increase in value as it becomes less dependent on you personally.All Insights