A recent survey found companies that can perform well without their owner for a period of three months are more successful and easier to sell than more owner-dependent businesses. Their owners also have a better quality of life.
There is no better justification for taking a blissful, uninterrupted holiday than to see how your company performs in your absence. The better your company runs on autopilot, the more valuable it will be when you are ready to sell.
To gauge your company’s ability to handle your absence, start by taking a break. Leave your computer at home and switch off your mobile. Upon your return, you’ll probably discover that your employees were resourceful, and found answers to a lot of the questions they would have asked you if you had been just along the corridor. That’s a good thing, and a sign you should start planning an even longer holiday.
You will also probably come back to an inbox full of issues that need your personal attention. Instead of busily 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 authorisations.
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 hard-wired and do not require human interpretation; but if you are not able to define a set procedure, 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 are trying to control spending too much. Employees may know what to do, but do not have any means of paying for the solution they know you would want.
For example, you could put 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 less than say £200.
You might allow an employee to spend a specific amount with a specific supplier each month without coming to you first.
Or you might give an employee an annual budget – an amount they can spend without seeking your approval.
Given the fires that may need to be extinguished after the fact, taking a holiday may seem more of a hassle than it’s worth. But if you transform the aftermath into systems and training that allow employees to act on their own, you will find the vacation is worth what you paid for it many times over. Your company will increase in value and become more enjoyable to run, as it becomes less dependent on you personally.
Posted by Richard Wickes