By JEFF JOBE
For small business owners, one of the biggest challenges is actually taking time away from your business. Yet vacations are essential for not only your employees but your family as well.
I find myself looking at my life and responsibilities today a bit differently than I did say 20 years ago.
Back in 1998 I had just created my company, and let’s just say nobody died and left me a pile of money. With each purchase, expansion or acquisition came more debt at a minimum but most certainly more personal hours.
It seemed to never fail that these requirements for my time would put demands on me to balance employee turnover or covering my small staff to give them time off.
Small business owners never miss ball games for their kids and are blessed to be able to pick children up from school and be in the audience for most all family events, but often we can’t break away for that week long vacation away from work. I know this because I was that guy.
If I were to change any aspect of my life I would have shut down a week every summer and spent the days with my babies.
So my advice to you hard working mom and dad business managers and owners is to follow a few strategies.
Implement summer hours for July and August. Rather than working 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., shrink the work day to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You will still be open for business but cutting two hours, or 22 percent, from the work day will make life a lot easier while having a minimal impact on the business and customers. If you don’t the clock-watcher employee will take advantage of low volume and complain about no time off. You know the type, they are the ones who seem to loaf several hours but want to charge $100 for everything they do outside of the normal work load.
Close on Fridays. This gives everyone a long weekend every weekend. Let’s face it, most Kentuckians take long weekends anyway when you consider that the biggest priority after lunch on a Friday is figuring out how early a departure from the office can happen, so beat them to the punch.
Shut down the office at noon or 1 p.m. on Fridays. As mentioned above, not a lot of work gets done on Friday afternoons so why fight it? By being open for three or four hours in the morning, customers can get what they need, while employees can wrap things up for the week before heading out. And by giving employees an extra five hours of weekend, you score major points with their children today and them someday.
There is a time in the summer when business sags because many customers are away on vacation, take advantage of it by going away as well. My business pretty much disappears in June, which makes it easy to get away to the lake. Of course, in the first years of my business I was too nervous to take advantage of the opportunity.
The bottom line is that summer vacations, regardless of length, are important for the mental health of a business owner and their employees. It gives everyone time to refresh their batteries and enjoy the summer at a time when everyone else is doing it.
If you can make it happen, then perhaps I’ve helped you avoid mistakes I’ve made, because there is more to life than just being the guy who pays for everything. Sharing in their laughter, fun and free time is just as important as making it all happen for them.
By-the-way Jobe Publishing store fronts will all be closed at 1:00 p.m. beginning this coming Friday, July 27. Come enjoy the summer with us at the Lake in Barren or Russell, or take a walk in the woods or canoe down the Green River in Edmonson, Butler or Hart, and drive to visit the Lighthouse Restaurant in Metcalfe, or grab some famous BBQ in Monroe.
Jeff Jobe is founder and CEO of Jobe Publishing, Inc. His commentary reflects his personal views and does not reflect the views of personal or professional associations and affiliations. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his previously published commentary at www.jobeforkentucky.com