Holiday arrangements made, ready to go – or is it that easy?

It’s countdown to the holiday season and we are looking forward to the Christmas break, where we can relax and forget about all our worries. Holidays however can present a major headache for those running their 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 you take that first step out the door. The very hint of time off brings about a major demand on your time leaving you asking “is it really worth it”? Follow our seven step holiday planner for a Stress Free Break

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.

2. Alert Customers

Always provide adequate notice to your customers of your intended absence. This notice should be given on a timely basis to enable customers to arrange to see you regarding any services they may require during your intended break. It will also provide you with an opportunity to schedule work prior to your leave to meet customer deadlines.

3. 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 your local police and landlord.
• Ensure the team has the information they need in order to complete assigned tasks
• Have a clear chain of command

4. Manage cash flow

Cash is king, especially over the holiday period. Cash flow issues during your absence could be catastrophic. Avoid a meltdown by:
• clearing up loose ends on outstanding issues,
• finalising jobs in the week prior to your leave,
• invoice early,
• apply rigorous debt collection procedures leading up to the holiday period
• ensure all important bills are paid before you leave.

5. Review stock levels

Running low on stock is the last thing you want to happen when you are not available to deal with it. If your premises are not closing for the holiday period make sure to order enough stock to see you through. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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 every business owner needs to replenish the batteries.
Make your 2014 holiday a truly memorable experience for you and your team.