As we enter the summer season, we also hit the official start of vacation season, and that can bring up a whole array of emotions and stressors in a business. Over the years I’ve heard all kinds of reasons and excuses from business owners blaming vacation season for this problem or that problem.
The good news is that summer happens every year at the same time, and the strategies for the season work every year as well. All it takes is a little planning and prioritizing, and you can not just survive the season, you can thrive in it.
There are three components to success in any business: employees, customers and the owner/leader of the business. Each has a different take on what the vacation season means. By understanding and managing these different takes, you can have successful growth with less stress during the season following these three guidelines.
1. Plan Your Vacation First
Yes, I said that. As the owner, you have by far the most to lose if you don’t do something to lighten your stress load. Many of you are working more hours than anyone else on the team, and most of you take far fewer days off than the others. You worry about how they will handle things while you take a few days off, but what if you don’t and you have a heart attack or a stroke from all the pent-up stress? Then they will need to run your business for a much longer period of time. All it takes is a little planning with your key team members to let them know how to navigate five days without you and you can go. Your family will thank you, as will your employees when you come back with less stress. Just do it.
2. Plan for Employee Vacations
Second, your employees will probably want some time off. Make sure you have a solid vacation policy about requesting time off in advance, and that you limit how many employees can be out at the same time. Think about whether it is first-come, first-served for days off or seniority based or some sort of rotation to make it fair over the years, especially around the Holiday weekends. Talk to your team, let them know the rules and get them to plan in advance so you don’t get stuck short-handed. Also, for employees who don’t take vacations, have a talk with them about taking some time to recharge their batteries, spend time with their families and prevent burnout.
3. Consider Your Customers’ Historic Vacation Plans
Third, you have to pay attention to your clients’ historic vacation plans, and how that impacts their buying patterns.
If your clients typically buy less during the summer months, take a look at your products and services that they should be buying during this time of year. Do they know everything you sell and how some of it is a better fit during this season? What else could you be providing them during this time of year that they need and maybe buy from someone else instead of you? No matter what industry you are in, your customers are always buying something. Just make sure that if you can sell it to them, they know you have it for them.
If they typically buy more during the summer, have a plan to hire seasonal help or do some temporary outsourcing.
If you would like some help planning your business’s vacation season, let’s schedule a 30 minute call to discuss how we can come up with your personalized vacation plan.
Author: Mark McNulty, Business Coach in Louisville, KY