How To Make Your Small Biz Run Smoothly While You're Away

January 7, 2013, 9:53 am Dr Adam Fraser KBB

Taking time out and getting away from the business is an essential element for the growth of your business.

I left my long term job 18 months ago to start my own small business. During that time I ve never taken more than 2 days off and really feel like I...

We've had a bunch of business builders tell us they struggled to take a proper break from their business last month for fear of it misfiring in their absence.

It's a very common problem faced by Jack-of-all-trade owners, so we thought we would re-visit the issue with the help of Dr Adam Fraser.

Here's what he advises to remedy the rut.

Question

I left my long term job 18 months ago to start my own small business. During that time I've never taken more than 2 days off and really feel like I need a break, but how do I make sure things run smoothly while I'm away?

Answer:

Taking time out and getting away from the business is an essential element for the growth of your business. Breaks refresh and recharge you. While you are away you will be able to have some perspective on the business and you will find that your creativity starts to come back.

Too often people are so busy working in the business they never get a chance to stand back and look at how the business is running.

The other great thing about taking time out is that it will really test your business structure and systems. Most small business people have inherited a job. What this means is that their business completely relies on them and if they step away the business falls over.

However, a truly stable small business is one that can operate without the owner.

To have things run smoothly you need to ensure that you have systems in place so that it can run without you. If you already have systems in place, test them before you go away to make sure they are robust to cope with your absence.

Also, with key staff, get them to live in your shoes for one or two days and observe how they cope and look to see where a system can be altered to improve it. (Note: When writing systems remember that people can’t read minds and don’t have a crystal ball, so write them for a 4 year old).

If you don’t have any systems (don’t feel guilty if you don’t, you're not alone) read a book called “The E-myth” by Michael Gerber. It's all about systemizing your small business and one of the best book business books written in the last 100 years.

Then, set up your systems, test them, refine them and then close the door and enjoy your holiday.

Got a small business barnacle? Come tell us about it on the KBB Facebook Forum and we'll ask the experts for you.