Imagine… after a busy month, after a big launch, after your program comes to a close… you take a much needed vacation.
You fly to someplace exotic, you check in to the hotel, and decide, just this one time, to check your email.
There are 200 new messages, including several urgent customer problems, a glitch with your online shopping cart, and a client who wants to back out of her contract.
Four hours later, your spouse returns from the beach and gives you that look. Again.
This isn’t a horror film; it’s your life. And you’re sick and tired of it. You’d like to go on vacation without your laptop.
A Business that Runs Without You
You can create a business that runs while you’re away from your office. You don’t need to be on call 24/7.
To do this, you need a trustworthy team to keep things running, effective systems to streamline your operations, and to let go, trusting your team and your systems to handle the details.
1. Hire and train a trustworthy team
First of all, you need someone to respond to emails, address customer concerns, and keep the day-to-day operations running smoothly. A virtual assistant (VA) is often the perfect person to do this for you.
If you already have an assistant, you may only need to train her on a few new tasks so she can truly cover for you while you’re gone.
If you don’t have an assistant, hire one now. It takes awhile for even the best assistants to learn the ins and outs your business and how you like things to run.
Depending on the size and scope of your business and the products and services you offer, you may also want a tech or web person on call. Ideally, your assistant and this tech person have a pre-established working relationship so they can team up, if needed, during your absence.
To read more on outsourcing to a team, read this article: 5 Ways Outsourcing Can Be Your Business Superhero.
2. Establish effective systems
Next, you need to establish robust systems. You know a system works well when you feel assured that everything that needs to be done will be done effectively, efficiently, consistently, and on time.
There are two categories of systems that you need to setup in your business.
1. Technical systems that automate tasks, such as an online scheduler for private client appointments and a glitch-free shopping cart to manage e-product sales. Automate as many aspects of your business as possible.
2. Systems that dictate how certain situations and issues are handled. Examples of this include addressing common customer service concerns, the process for accepting new clients, and your billing procedures.
Systems simplify and streamline your business. They also make your assistant’s job easier. She won’t have to guess, reinvent the wheel, or worry about making a mistake in your absence.
I suggest you establish, implement, test, and refine your systems before you go on vacation. That way you’ll be confident that everything will be addressed just like you want, even when you’re not there.
3. Learn to let go
One you’ve hired and trained a trustworthy team and established robust systems, it’s time to let go.
Trust that if your team has been trained and your systems have been tested and optimized, your business should run fairly smoothly while you’re gone. Sure, new problems occasionally occur, but you’ve generally set yourself up for some work-free vacation time.
Now, you need to let go, and let things run without you. Here’s a sure-fire trick for letting go: leave your laptop at home.
You’re in Charge
Entrepreneurship can go two ways: you do everything yourself and never take a vacation, or you hire a team, establish effective systems, loosen up the reigns, and fly to a sunny beach or a snow capped mountain for some break from the daily grind.
How your life and your business run is entirely up to you. You’re the boss. It’s your choice.
I suggest you take the time to hire a great team and establish great systems so you can take that vacation you desperately need. I think you’ve earned it, superhero.
About the Author: Jenny Shih is a coach and consultant for solo entrepreneurs. Her clients are “idea factories” with growing businesses who need help planning, strategizing, streamlining, and systematizing.
Jenny combines her background as a Fortune 500 corporate manager with her life coaching experience, fascination with technology, and love of plan-making to help passionate superheroes change the world.
Jenny is the author of The System Flight Kit, everything you need to create effective systems in your business, and The Idea Flight Kit, a step-by-step guide for turning your ideas into something real. Download your FREE copies right here.