388651_302455806443471_1674604772_nAs precious as your business is, business owners often need to step away from their salons for long periods of time. Sometimes, it’s to restore your “ work pizazz” or explore other amazing opportunities. Or, maybe it’s just for a long, well-earned holiday overseas.

Whatever the reason, your business can’t just pause while you’re gone. When the need to leave arises, your company has to be ready to run on autopilot.

In my case, I’ve learned to loosen my restraints and simply let go: I can work from my laptop when necessary, and three months , I traveled for near five weeks. Why would I go and leave two businesses? Because the All Blacks needed me in the UK to watch them play three games; well that is my excuse.

On my return I was rested and I am busy working on a promoting a new skin analysis company — and my current Beauty Therapy and Hairdressing Company is still thriving. There is no more a control freak in West Auckland than me! So if I can do it –you can do it! Plan to let go ; plan to reward yourself with time –out from your business in 2016.

I am encouraging you to act on your New Year Resolution list to have a well-earned “real” holiday –that means away – stay away from your business .Plan to be away. Start your own weekly savings plan to cover airfares and accommodation [suggest using www.airbnb.co.nz for accommodation for long stay ] .Consider that place in the World that you have always dreamed of going to ; google it. Draw up your dream chart, cut and paste magazine pictures on the chart and pin it up where you look at it each day ; blue tack it to your mirror !

Before you say ; “I can’t do that ”, let me state that preparing for autopilot is a several-step process, but if your company can soar without you around, the benefits are innumerable.

For business owners, delegating might not mean the difference between winning or losing a Rugby World Cup as it was in November 2015 , but it can mean the difference between your salon’s success and failure.

So, consider the following benefits of delegating (or going on an extended holiday and leaving a person in charge):

Delegating gives you the freedom in your head space to create or re-invent your business .You have read the mantra many times – Work on your business not always in your business. Time away to rest , relax ,lie in a hammock and listen to the waves on the beach will allow those entrepreneurial thoughts and deliciously fresh new salon service ideas and staff incentive plans to float on into the headspace.  Maybe you will return and think ! Yes time to sell and move on to the next opportunity.

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said: “I delegated the areas I struggled with to people who also believed in the project. This freed up my time to focus on what I was good at.” As founder of an entity that operates 400 enterprises, one thing he was good at was “finding the next businesses to start up.”

His approach makes perfect sense: the more balls you have in the air the more likely you are to drop one or all of them. So, focus on what you are good at, hone in on the areas that are vital to your company, and delegate everything else. By getting more people involved in the juggling (including expert jugglers) fewer balls are likely to drop.

Delegating increases team member engagement. While delegating small or undesirable tasks is a good start, you won’t reap the full dividends until you learn to delegate the large and complicated duties.

When you delegate meaningful work to a subordinate staff member , they will  feel more important, and are more likely to give that task their utmost effort. It’s human nature. People have an innate desire to be needed and those who feel needed will always aim to perform at a higher level than people who feel ignored or taken advantage of. Do include your young team members also in this delegation ; role sharing exercise.

Delegating empowers your employees, and an empowered employee is much more likely to engage with customers and coworkers, problem solve, turn in work that exceeds expectations and offer their opinions. They are also far less likely to spend their days staring out the window, checking twitter and logging onto Facebook.

Delegating increases fresh ideas. Because delegating empowers your employees, it taps into their creativity, inventiveness and ingenuity. It urges them to bring new ideas to the table by making them feel a part of the business. Would you sleep easy knowing you were preventing this happening to your business because you are not delegating ?

Delegating also saves you from performing non-influential tasks or performing them ineffectively; it gives you the ability to focus on what brought you this far in the first place: your concepts, your dreams, your skill set. Yes , take a break as you have earned on.

Now I must own up, and state -Delegating might not always save you from stressful moments, it may not immediately increase your revenue tenfold, and it probably will initially add to your workload. You will have to rewrite your protocols; mine are 21,700 words long but they are current! You will have to teach exactly how you want the phone answered or the scalp massage completed and the head towel folded exactly your way but once all is in order,  you delegate. Over time, it will make your life easier, free up your busy day and maximize your odds to succeed.

I realise you and I are zooming into end Financial Year March 2016  ! If you are struggling with relinquishing the reins, then start small. Pick something relatively insignificant. For example; organise that early Stock take breakfast for the team with gifts from the $2 shop to assist staff count stock ! eg oversized ridiculous glasses . Delegate that today, but don’t take it back 6 month stock check  or Financial end 2017, that task stays delegated. Commit to delegate another activity tomorrow (or the following week), and then another activity the day after that. Manage the delegates, not the activities. Alternatively, identify the tasks that you put off, either because you don’t like them or aren’t good at them — those are perfect fodder for delegation. Have a staff member call all your suppliers to gather all the current 2016 stock process and check them against yours in the computer and on shelf.

Delegating increases team member engagement. While delegating small or undesirable tasks is a good start, you won’t reap the full dividends until you learn to delegate the large and complicated duties e.g. Marketing , Wages , Finances

First, learn to loosen your own grip on your company. Yes, the early stages of launching a business do require leaders to engage in a lot of hand-holding and supervision, but over time, the team’s self-confidence and self-governance must also be encouraged.

As your company grows and becomes more complex, you simply can’t have a say in every single decision. It’s just not feasible, nor is it something you should strive for if you ever plan to take a holiday. Instead, empower your employees to be problem solvers. If they require constant validation and need permission before making decisions, you’re not even close to being ready for autopilot. Here is my current  example of empowerment ;

What an amazing problem solving three hour session I had with two key staff members last week – “What does it cost to run our salon for each minute it is open?” was the question I set ! Whilst it was not a laugh a minute ! we did establish it was $2.54 a minute to run Face and Body Salon in Titirangi in February 2016 . More enlightening was the Salon Manager’s comments  “Do you all realise WE are now responsible for putting $158 in the till every hour “ and there will be no more asking for things ! I have to get this all sorted first and I am going to start with our pricelist.

Another crucial step is organizing your systems and software to the cloud. Make sure to set up your accounting software and CRM on the cloud. Doing this will allow you to access and assess the work being done in your absence. The leader does keep track ,with one eye, of projects and tasks being accomplished in their absence.

You can have several spreadsheets maintained daily by your team that allow you to see activities in real time. I am not constantly monitoring my team, but I do at least once a week. You may stay in touch with them, too, through email on your holiday to provide guidance when necessary. Adopt these proven systems and they could allow you to manage your company even if you’re canoeing down the Whanganui River.

8508593Empowerment, confidence and technology are the three key ingredients to running on autopilot. Once you’ve built a foundation by adjusting your mindset and updating your tech tools, here’s how to prepare your team for success while you’re gone: Long before you leave, conduct training sessions that put your team in theoretical scenarios in which they won’t be able to ask you questions or seek your approval. Showing them they’re capable of productivity in your absence will build their confidence and make them excited for autopilot. Use Role play techniques to train your staff in Staff Meeting time .January Staff meeting as devoted to creating Client Annual Plans and we role played how to do this for 40 minutes ! It was powerful , memorable and funny all in one lesson and now I “hear “ it being inculcated in salon and  glance at the computer screen shows me columns filling in through to December 2016 .

Don’t let your company’s first autopilot attempt occur when you head off for a two-month trip to a place that doesn’t have Internet access. Instead, try staying home for a few days while maintaining a minimal presence in day-to-day affairs and see how your team fares. Use this time to plan your holiday later in the year and to check your financial savings plan .Short, unannounced absences will keep your team on their game and allow them to get used to you being gone.

Never completely disappear.

You still run a business. Completely checking out for long periods of time is dangerous, and it may send your team the wrong message. Yes, challenge them to make hard decisions while you’re away, but be sure to check in on those decisions regularly and continue going over key reports and statistics while you’re on autopilot.

Once you’re ready to let go of the reins, don’t hesitate. If your employees need anything — or if something unexpected comes up — your number is on the computer!

Plan to delegate and grow a long overdue holiday in 2016 !….. if you need help then just ask me via email of Face Book.

Article from Margaret Walsh  www.margaretwalshconsulting.co.nz