One of the biggest challenges that many retailers face is trying to keep their business afloat while going on vacation.
We all need some time away to regroup and spend with our loved ones, but it’s tough for a hands-on business owner to turn over the keys to the shop for a week or two.
Vacation anxiety is real – and for good reason because anything can happen. Our founder, understands this all too well, as he experienced his own small business vacation nightmare in 2008. While he was away, spending time with his family when his point of sale systems’ server crashed, causing him to close all of his stores indefinitely. He started ShopKeep shortly after to ensure that this never happened again.
It’s events like these that encourage many small business owners to deal with vacation anxiety by just not taking vacations. According to OnDeck’s Small Business Owners Survey, only 9 percent of the 200 business owners who participated planned on taking a full two-week vacation. 61 percent indicated that they would take a one week vacation, and 26 percent said that they’d take a few days off. Not only is it common for small business owners to not take vacations, but they are known to worry profusely when they do take one. Of those who do take time off, 67 percent planned on checking in at work at least once per day.
With so many advances in technology, it is possible to thwart vacation anxiety–at least partially–and go on a relaxing getaway as things running smoothly while you’re away. Here are five surefire tips to take the stress out of managing a small business while you’re away, drinking piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.
Before even thinking about the technology that you’d like to use to help manage the shop while you’re away, the first thing that you should consider is selecting one of your trusted employees to stand in for you. We know, no one does things quite like you, but having a reliable stand-in who knows your business inside and out can help bring peace of mind while you’re on vacation. Ensure a smooth transition by spending time together going over both routine and unexpected tasks along with the appropriate procedures.
Will you check in regularly? Will you be available to handle urgent requests? What constitutes an emergency? Will your stand-in have absolute authority to make decisions or should he or she wait until you get back? These are all good questions to ask yourself before committing to your getaway. Clarify your expectations in advance so that your team back home knows how and when to reach out to you.
1. Set boundaries for yourself.
Just as you must set boundaries with your team, set boundaries for yourself. If you’ve committed to checking in via email just once per day, pick a time and stick to it. And whatever you do, avoid the temptation to check in more frequently. If you’ve prepared your team well, they won’t expect a more frequent response.
2. Stay in the loop with web-based collaboration tools.
If your team uses a web-based collaboration tool such as BaseCamp, Trello, Asana, or Evernote use it to stay in the loop — but within the boundaries you’ve set for yourself. Similarly, you could use the ShopKeep Pocket app to check out real-time reports for each of your stores. With access to these kinds of tools, you can troubleshoot in real-time without being tied down to your brick and mortar location. You will soon realize that your vacation anxiety was unfounded and that your stores are running just fine in your absence.
3. Schedule a “hang out.”
Google Hangouts is the perfect tool for live video chats. You can use Google Hangouts on computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.Running a business on vacation is just one of the many challenges small business owners face, but like most things, with a little bit of planning and preparation, it can be done. You deserve a break! Make it enjoyable by choosing the right person to stand in for you, setting expectations and boundaries, and monitoring your store from afar within the limits you’ve set for yourself.
Running a business on vacation is just one of the many challenges small business owners face, but like most things, with a little bit of planning and preparation, it can be done. You deserve a break! Make it enjoyable by choosing the right person to stand in for you, setting expectations and boundaries, and monitoring your store from afar within the boundaries you’ve set for yourself.