Fergus founder Dan Pollard explains how you can have a stress-free holiday as a business owner by planning ahead.
To have a proper break, where trade business owners can really kick back and relax, hinges on a little bit of planning. You can do just that by ticking off the five steps in this action plan before you jet off to the beach.
1. Confirm you can meet your financial commitments
If you know you’ve got enough cash in hand to cover time away, then chances are you’ll be in a position where you can switch off, slow down and enjoy the holidays.
If you have a few staff, it’s amazing how much summer holidays can cost you. Think about paying staff and any other commitments. The best thing to do is contact your accountant or payroll person and ask them to work it out for you well in advance of holiday season. If you know what you need, you won’t get caught short.
While you’re sorting out your wage obligations, work out what you need to fork out for all your tax bills, like VAT, too. There’s nothing worse than holding off until tax deadlines hit and then not having the cash to pay up.
2. Send your invoices and call for payment
While making sure all of your invoices are out the door is critical before you sign off for the summer break, actually collecting the money is what matters. You need to know whether you’ll be paid on time or not, so if you haven’t started calling your customers, do it as soon as possible. It’s likely your customers will be planning a summer holiday as well, so ask for clarity around when you can anticipate receiving payment. If you don’t have the time to call customers who owe you money, rope in a family member, friend or contractor to make the calls for you.
3. Communicate your shutdown plan
Everyone needs to take a break, and while customers will be putting pressure on you to get things finished before you leave, it’s unlikely you’ll close all your jobs out. With this in mind, you’ll need to clearly communicate your holiday plans to staff and customers to manage expectations and avoid disappointment.
Customers will want to know any closure dates, as well as whether anyone from your team will be available for emergency call-outs (and how they can get in touch). As a bare minimum, change your voicemail recording and set up your out-of-office or holiday reminders on your email account.
4. Get creative to bridge any cash gaps
There’s a chance some trades businesses won’t be in the position to take a long summer break. If this is you, you may consider a shorter break so you can bridge any cash gaps. With much of the competition potentially going on holiday too, you may be able to win new customers by fulfilling emergency work. Another potential avenue for income could come from approaching larger companies in need of maintenance while their own offices/ factories/ warehouses are unoccupied.
5. Be decisive
Don’t leave your finances or your holiday spirit to chance! Make that call to your accountant now, or just do it yourself and put the plans in place. Consider job management software like Fergus, which can really help you plan properly and get your business humming, even when you are on your holidays. Find out what your financial obligations are and make a plan from there. When you’re kicking-back, you’ll be glad you did.
For more information and a free trial of Fergus, click here.