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The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

July 23, 2012 • Issue 12:07:02


Give yourself a break, a long break

For many people summer is the perfect time to take a vacation. The weather in many locales is balmy. Resorts throughout the land are geared up to lavish attention on tourists. Most children have time off from regular academic studies. And a bit of relaxation is a traditional part of the season.

Vacations are also good for your health. A significant break from the daily grind offers the chance to fully relax, replenish and restore your mind and body. Taking regular vacations tends to increase happiness and decrease depression. The leisure time vacations afford also helps lower blood pressure and stress.

However, if you own your own business, as many ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) do, it can be difficult to get away. It can also be a challenge to stop checking email and tending to business even if you're on a far-off beach attempting to enjoy downtime.

If you feel your business won't survive without your attention for a week or two, please change the situation. It is possible that right now you are not as indispensable to your business as you think you are; things might hum along just fine for a short time without any input from you whatsoever. And if your direct, daily involvement is required, you can learn to delegate some of your duties so you can have a break.

Prepare to let go

Here are some actions to take:

  • Analyze:Review your business responsibilities to determine what actions can be done before you go, what must be delegated and completed while you're away, and what can be put off until you return.

  • Identify and procure: If you run an ISO, select the most knowledgeable and competent person in the company to do what you typically do that must be done while you're gone. If you run a one-person office or a very small operation, identify a respected colleague outside of your organization - perhaps an MLS who knows your sphere but isn't in direct competition with you - and ask the person to cover for you, and offer to do the same for him or her in return.

  • Delegate and train: Let your temporary replacement know exactly what you expert to be done while you're away. Spell it out. Then show the person how to do it, and provide written instructions for reference.

    Let the person know who your go-to people are, the functions they provide and how to reach them if needed. Also provide a phone number where you can be contacted; emphasize that this is for emergency situations only.

  • Set expectations: Let your customers, employees (if any) and vendors know you will be away, how long you'll be gone and who will be helping them while you're gone.

    Be upbeat in your communication. Don't broadcast that they can reach you if they need you. Tell them how confident you are in the person you've selected to fill your shoes. Let them know they'll be in good hands.

If you bring your laptop, tablet computer or phone with you on your trip, check them only occasionally. And if you do receive a call from the office, make sure it really is an emergency before you jump into action. If it's just a difficult situation, consider telling your replacement, "It's your call," and get back to your boat or cabana or romantic dinner. end of article

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