Mai Tais and Umbrella Drinks

Can your business operate without you so you can take a vacation?

The situation…

We’ve both been there. You and I are business owners, and we’ve often wondered if we can take a vacation. We are far enough into Fall that maybe you’re starting to dream of warm weather and sunshine. The holidays are upon us, and maybe you just want to unplug for a few days and enjoy your family. Whatever the case, you’ve worked hard in and on your business, and you deserve some time off. But how? If you feel like your business can’t operate without you, even for a few days, read on.

What’s missing?

As a business owner, you should be able to unplug for a few days and go off-the-grid. At worst, you should be able to keep tabs on your business via technological means. Can’t do either of those? That means three things:

1) you probably created a job for yourself instead of a business

2) you’re not utilizing technology appropriately, and

3) you need better and/or more people.

The fix…

From an accountant’s perspective, you should have 24/7 access to your financial data, and most, if not all, of the accounting and bookkeeping functions should be automated. A good accountant will leverage cloud applications and connect them in a way that accomplishes this. However, according to Barry Melancon, CEO of the AICPA, only about two-thirds of CPAs are utilizing the cloud. Therefore, you may need to talk to a few accountants before finding the right fit to meet your automation and information needs.

Operational data should also be gathered in an automated fashion, then combined with financial data to give you an idea how they impact each other. Business owners should always consider how they can collect and leverage more data about their customers and their internal processes. Ideally, this will be done in a dashboard which is accessible via your desktop and mobile devices. The purpose of a dashboard is to present your key predictive indicators (KPIs) in a graphical manner so it’s easily digestible at a glance. Having an effective dashboard will allow you can glance at it on vacation and if something needs attention, you can make a quick call to the office.

Finally, if you run a business where people are a necessity, you need to attract and retain top talent. If that means paying higher wages and offering better benefits, so be it. Then, empower your people to make decisions and trust they’ll do an awesome job. As an aside, given that today is Veteran’s Day, consider focusing on hiring vets.

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