Holiday and NOT be trapped
working in your business!

How: Systems & People

Over the next few months I’m away for weeks at a time, I’m traveling to the UK with my nephew for a combination of work and pleasure and then to the US for work, over a month away from my desk over a two month period.  I couldn’t have done this last year without having to check in daily and work a few hours each day, it got me thinking about why I’m not stressed about it this year.


As a business owner, regardless of the size of your business (solopreneur, plus 1 or teams of people) we are needed to guide and lead our companies. What we are not supposed to be is the linchpin, we must grow so we can step back and give our people the opportunity to do their job.  


This is not easy even if we are emotionally ready to empower and hand over responsibilities there is the consideration of, what if my team aren’t up to the task, what will I come back to and of course we have all heard about business owners taking holidays then working more when they get back than if they had ever gone away, so sad.  I don’t want to be this person so I prepared.


How am I going to do this?  Systems and People! 

Seems logical but only really good leaders get this right and I want to be one of those leaders.


Systems come first because systems should be supporting people not the other way around.  This is important; if your systems and processes aren’t helping your people then change them.  With the right systems in place people are freed up to deliver.


To check your systems a quick and easy way to start is to have a look at your Organisation Chart, who manages Marketing, Sales, Fulfillment (could be for Customer Support/Product Delivery/Logistics), Human Resources, Finance and IT/Systems.


Now look at the Processes in place for each of these areas, do they form a system can you see a system?  There  will be one if you have a process even if you can’t see it.  Each Process supports a function within your business if you have a few processes for one function then those processes form part of a system.  


Many of our Systems today are supported by technology as such they can be automated, for example our communication system enables me to place an automatic responder on my emails to let people know I’m away, when I will be able to reply and another connection to a team member if they need something in my absence.  We also have the option to have my emails forwarded to my support team.  The way my team responds to the communication would be supported by a process.

people collaborating virtually (1)

What is a Process?  I think the best way to describe a process is to think of it like a recipe or precise list of steps that take you through a task.  Your processes should include:

  • A reason or ‘why’.  Knowing why something exists helps us to understand its relevance.
  • Who contributes to the process - there may be multiple people or departments that contribute 
  • The steps to complete the process - the steps must be understandable to anyone, particularly someone who has never followed the process, it must be precise (just like a receipt to make a yummy meal) 
  • Lastly it needs to include ‘what done looks like’ or the outcome following the successful delivery of this process.


Every business has multiple processes, you create and use a process for anything that you do more than once.  Each process should enable anyone in your business to follow the instructions and to complete the task.  These are super handy when you are training new staff.


Imagine the power these processes give you as a business owner and your team.  They can expand and grow with your business.  You won’t have one person who is the only person that knows how to do something, you can share responsibility. 


Now don’t get me wrong you can't make a process accountable for making a decision but it can help to guide the decision making process.  Imagine for a moment that you are away on a fabulous holiday and a situation occurs with a client, they have a problem and need help.  With a customer support process that speaks to customer problems a team member can begin to support your customer, if the problem is new and there are no processes to help navigate that  particular problem there will still be processes to follow that will support the steps to dealing with the issue. 


Can you see the power of a good process?

Can you see the value of how it supports you and your people?


Ok, so now you get that Systems and Process are important, the next element is your people.


If you know me even a little you know that I value my people and I feel it is important to include them in the goals of my business.  Over the last year I’ve taken both my businesses through a transformation. Throughout my team has been part of the journey as such they have revised processes to align with the changes.  We have tested, refined and tested each of our processes.  


They are confident and clear in what they do in their role and how their role impacts other parts of the business, they are empowered, supported and trusted. 



Remember, systems and processes should be supporting people, not making their life difficult.


If my team needs me for a decision they can’t make, we have a process and a plan for how to best reach me and what I will need from them to understand the situation and to make a decision.


I will of course check in not because I have to but because my people are important to me and I want to ensure they are doing well and are having a nice day, besides I will be sharing fun moments and photos with them.  What I won’t be doing is checking on their work, they have my trust and if a mistake is made then we will all learn from it.


So, there you have it: my secret to being able to take time off from work without having to check in and work while away - Systems and People.


For more on How to Empower your people then read this journal


“You can’t successfully scale your business without good Systems, Processes and People” Heather Disher


We choose to operate this way because we want long term contracts with our clients so that their VA becomes a part of their business not somebody in the background. If you would like to explore working with us then book a Discovery Call today.


Until next time. Stay fabulous!


CEO and Managing Partner

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