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Small Business Confession: My Business Needed Me To Take A Vacation!
I must confess – My business needed me to take that vacation! I don’t mean one of those vacations where I go away and my wife and son drag me to every amusement park known to man. And I do not mean the type of vacation where we cram into the car and search out the world’s largest bowling pin (which is actually located in Tampa, FL). Nope – the type of vacation that my business needed me to take was one where I disconnected completely and left all decisions in the hands of my staff.
If you are a small business owner you probably feel as if you have to be connected all the time. You may feel that without your presence things will fall apart. Until recently I felt as if I could not leave our warehouse for more than a few days at a time. It was not that my staff couldn’t handle things while I was away, but rather that I would miss something that was important.
Anyone that knows me will tell you that I’m always connected. It is not uncommon for clients to receive return phone calls or emails during Lynx’s after hours (their working hours depending on their time zone). I take great pride in knowing that my clients will not have to wait for an answer.
Keeping that pace took a toll on my health. My weight increased to 226 lbs due to a steady diet of early morning trips to our local Tim Horton’s and afternoon runs to any fast food place that had enough grease to satisfy whatever craving I had at the time. My sleep habits were deeply disturbed – on good nights I would get 2-4 hours. And the toll became worse when my gall bladder stopped functioning making me extremely ill.
It was then that I decided that I needed to take the necessary steps to improve not only my health but the health of Lynx Fulfillment. I realized that my staff needed to be empowered to make the necessary decisions in my absence. They were capable of handling the important things that prevented me from feeling as if I could take time away. Mistakes could be made as long as lessons were learned.
I focused on getting myself healthy. I had gall bladder surgery, changed my eating habits and focused on getting to a healthy weight. Within two days of the surgery I was back in the office, but that didn’t give the staff the absence that was needed.
So what did I do? I scheduled myself to be away for nearly two weeks. In that time, I would not have my laptop and would not have access to a phone or email. I would disconnect completely. It certainly was not easy, but after a couple of days I felt relaxed.
Most small business owners feel the way that I did. The health of their organization depends on their presence, but those business owners (like me) are wrong. Getting away is exactly what your business needs. It allows for you to see the strengths of your organization and exposes the weaknesses. It can provide a continuity plan in the event that an emergency takes you away from your business for a period of time.
For Lynx Fulfillment, the best result was that my staff stepped up giving me the confidence that my physical presence is no longer required for the business to survive. The staff is empowered and more than one client provided feedback that my absence was not noticed (I took this as a compliment). Decisions were made that I would have made and our clients felt little to no impact. The most important factor was that Lynx Fulfillment has a continuity plan in place that provides long term stability for our clients.
Where did my vacation take me? My families goal has been to take my son to every Major League Baseball stadium before he completes high school. This year we visited Washington D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia – stadiums 5, 6 & 7.
What has your absence meant to your business?
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