As a business owner, you need to spend time on the road meeting with clients and finding new ones. You also need to feel confident that things will run smoothly (or at least with no emergencies) while you’re traveling. Technology has made it possible to operate a business using programs and remote devices that allow you to interface with key people back at the office and track payroll, profitability, and sales. It’s important to create a business model you can automate as much as possible. Automation gives you the freedom to do what you need as an owner without constantly checking on situations, tracking figures, and trying to reach personnel back at the office throughout the day. You’ll find you’re able to manage your own responsibilities more efficiently, and your blood pressure and stress level will be more manageable.
Consider establishing a sales “sequence” feature that allows you to sell your product or menu of services, a process that allows prospective customers to find and customize what they need online. Such an automated approach should require no direct involvement on your part beyond the initial set-up. An automated invoice system can also be a godsend when you’re traveling. Fortunately, there are plenty of invoicing apps – some free – these days, which can centralize your sales data, invoices, and payments in one location. Accepting payments automatically and tracking accounts receivable is gradually becoming a necessity in today’s high-paced business environment. You can also use automation to manage inventory, email marketing, and employee scheduling. Some business owners elect to hire “virtual” assistant managers, freelancers who are tasked with very specific duties while they’re away.
Prepare Core Employees
Most businesses – small or large, new or established – have a core group of employees that an owner, or owners, can rely on in a pinch. Make sure you have several individuals who can step in and take care of things in the event of a crisis, people who understand the company’s financial position and can identify key messages that need to be communicated to customers and shareholders if something goes wrong with an important client. It’s also important to let employees know that they shouldn’t contact you unless it’s an emergency. To make the most of your vacation, and to cut down on the potential for stress, learn to say “no” to certain requests.
Don’t Announce Your Absence
There’s rarely a need to announce to the world that you’ll be on the road for any length of time. Save that information for your secretary, key employees, and core clients in case they need to reach you. Don’t let it be known on social media that you’ll be traveling. These days, con artists are very good at convincing people that “emergency” funds need to be transferred right away to you or an emergency account. They might also try to present themselves as you, sending emergency messages about money that needs to be transferred right away, or they might try to take advantage of advance information about your itinerary. If you’re hitting the road, keep it between you and a few key individuals.
There may be times when you’re traveling in remote places where you have limited or no internet access but need to access information inside your firewall. There are apps that allow you to access appointments and employee schedules while you’re away. Download and get familiar with them because there will be times you’ll need to use them.
As a business owner, you need to be able to work smart and efficiently while you’re traveling. That means coordinating with key people back at the office and having access to secure information. It also means having faith in people who you’ve prepared to make decisions for you.