Flights booked, bags packed, ready to go – or is it that easy? Research had shown that 49% of SME owners haven’t had a holiday in the last six months and over one in four haven’t had a break for at least four years.

The holiday season is here and we should be looking forward to those few weeks off, when we can relax and forget about all our worries. Holidays however can present a major headache for those of us running our own business. The holiday cheer can be long forgotten in the lead up to the big day.

A million and one things require attention before we take that first step out the door. The very hint of time off brings about a major demand on our time leaving us asking ourselves “is it really worth it”?

Follow our seven-step holiday planner for a Stress-Free Break from your business

  1. Plan staffing requirements 

Your policy and procedures manual should include a section on holiday entitlement. Staff should be familiar with this section and procedures should be in place for adequate notice when booking annual holidays. This early notice period will ensure suitable holiday cover can be put in place and avoid staff shortages when you are away from the business.

  1. Notify Customers

Provide your customers with adequate notice of your intended absence to enable them to make arrangements to see if needed before your break. It will also provide you with an opportunity to schedule work prior to your leave to meet customer deadlines.

  1. Consider administration procedures

Regular administrative duties should be reviewed and delegated to ensure nothing is overlooked.

  • check insurances are up to date and adequate cover is in place
  • leave contact details in case of emergencies
  • agree a schedule for direct contact and updates during your absence
  • provide details of key holders to relevant authorities
  • ensure the team has the information they need in order to complete assigned tasks
  • have a clear chain of command
  1. Manage cash flow

Cash is king, especially over the holiday period. Cash flow issues during your absence could be catastrophic so avoid a meltdown by:

  • clearing up loose ends on outstanding issues
  • finalising jobs and contracts in the weeks prior to your leave
  • invoice early and apply rigorous debt collection procedures leading up to your holiday
  • ensure all important bills are paid before you leave
  1. Review stock levels

Running low on stock is the last thing you want to happen when you are not available to deal with it. Make sure to order enough stock to see you through the holiday period. Liaise with your suppliers and provide authorisation for a designated member of the team to place an order within predetermined limits if the need arises.

  1. Hand over control

Empower your team to take control and manage the business in your absence. Get their buy-in by encouraging them to prepare a plan of action and set their own goals and targets for the holiday period. Schedule a meeting for your return to review results. If possible, have a few trial runs by taking some time out from the business to build team confidence.

  1. Prepare your contingency plan

You can’t assume everything will go swimmingly. Carry out a risk assessment and leave a contingency plan to cover any noted weaknesses.

Early planning will enable you to have that well-deserved, stress free break that you need to replenish the batteries.

Make your 2019 holiday a truly memorable experience for you and your team.

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