There will come a time in every business owner’s career where they have to step away from the business to attend to something else. This can be a worry because leaving your business to run itself can pose risks of loss of profits. When occasions like this arise, it’s important to put some tools in place so that you’re not running any risks of damaging your business while you’re away, whether it be for meetings, personal affairs, or even pleasure. Here are some tips on how to be implement procedures so that you can be sure your business will run like clockwork while you’re absent.
Create a business handbook
If you haven’t already, it might be an idea to create a general handbook that gives guidelines on how things should be run even when you are there. This will not only help keep things running smoothly while you’re not there, but it will be a basis for your members of staff to work from. Here are some ideas on what to include in the handbook:
- Cashing up procedures – it’s important for at least one member of staff on each shift to be able to cash up, but if the occasion ever arises where there’s no one available, there will be a guide on hand ready to help out so that nothing goes amiss.
- Business rules are important to outline so that if a problem comes up with a customer or client, your staff members can refer to the handbook to back themselves up.
- Customer service guidelines. Create a lengthy section on how you expect each and every member of staff to deal with your customers. After all, it’s your business on the line.
- All of your contact information for cases of emergency. It’s likely that your absence means you’d rather not be contacted, but make sure you outline the exceptions in your handbook.
- A guide on how to deal with potential theft and burglary. It’s important for your staff members to know what steps to take if they realise that your business has in fact, suffered from theft. Alerting the police and also checking camera records are a great path to begin with.
- Health and safety rules. Every business needs one so that if an accident does occur, your staff know how to deal with the problem whether it be injury concerning a staff member or even a customer. Don’t forget to include insurance details if needed!
Having a handbook ready for these types of situations will greatly help your staff continue to run your business while you’re away. Make sure that you’re updating it as you go along so that nothing is missed off and your staff aren’t at risk in any way. It’s also a good idea to have the handbook in paper and electronic form, so that not only can your staff access it, but so can your customers.
Hire a right hand man
One of the first things that you should be considering regardless of if you don’t think you’ve got any leave coming up is hiring a right hand man (or woman). This will allow you to rest assured that if an emergency like you having to apply for probate because of the death of a loved one crops up, that your business will fall into safe hands.
Your promoted member of staff should have these qualities so that you know you’ve made the right decision:
- Able to take charge of your team and not be afraid to be ‘disliked’ if they make a decision that no one else agrees with.
- Have a high attendance record. It’s pointless promoting someone that you think may not be reliable enough to take charge if needed.
- Must know the ins and outs of the business, this includes accounting and how to deal with customer complaints.
- Have the ability to deal with customers how you desire. Good customer service, but firm and fair when needed.
- Be able to cope with the high amounts of pressure that you normally deal with. Training them is of course necessary.
If you don’t already have a right hand man to jump into your position if the need arises, then it might be an idea to promote someone now, before it’s too late. This way you can get any necessary training in and it also poses the opportunity to delegate some of your work with them.
Host a staff meeting
It’s not just your right hand man that needs to know what’s going on. If you’re aware that you’ve got annual leave or a business meeting that’s not on the premises, it’s always a good idea to make sure that your staff know exactly what’s going to happen. There’s nothing worse than trying to make sense of what’s going on and not knowing who to turn to if you have a problem. Introduce your new second in command to them so that they know they are in safe hands and can continue working as normal in your absence.
Another thing that you should be doing in your staff meeting is appraising your staff for their hard work. Doing this will motivate them to work harder in your absence (and in general) to prove that they are capable and to please you.
Prepare a to-do list
When you’ve suddenly got to take emergency leave, it can be difficult to be able to know what to leave your staff so that things can continue as normal. Prepare for such an event by creating a daily to-do list for everyone to work by in your absence.
If, on the other hand, you do know that you’ve got leave coming up, you can create a more intricate to-do list for your second in command and also individual staff members. They should generally know what to do in each work day, but if you’ve got specific tasks that you need completing, it might be worth creating some tasks ready before you take your leave.
Run your business on the go
With the wonderful world wide web, it’s now possible to work from pretty much anywhere. While you might not be able to complete all of your tasks when you’re travelling or on leave, there are many things that you can do via the internet. Banking and account management is mostly completed online, so why not do it mobile rather than putting it in the hands of someone who might not fully know what they are doing?
Other ideas include being in constant contact with your business so that if there are any problems, you can advise to the best of your ability. This will also help keep your staff members in the loop of what’s going on too. Using tools like the Cloud are a great way of keeping documents safe and also storing them online rather than running the risk of losing any important work.
As a business owner, it’s not very often that you get the chance to take leave from work, but sometimes it’s necessary and your business still needs to run in your absence. Take the tips in this article and apply them to your business so that you can rest assured that even in your absence, that your business will run like clockwork.