1st Vacation

After opening 2 years ago, I am taking my first short vacation on Sunday. I am going to Las Vegas for 3 days. I think everything that can break, broke this week, so I shouldn’t have any problems there. I am sure something major will happen, but I am going to try to block out any thought of what is going on at the store.

Do any of you have any 1st vacation stories of nightmares?

Is this your first time away from the store? I started out with baby steps. The first time I left someone in charge I ran out to do some errands for about 20 minutes, then sat out in the parking lot watching them for about an hour. They did fine so the next time it was a bit longer, I think about 3 hours or so. Again fine, so I took a night off (about 6 hours). I think them knowing that I was gone for the rest of the night made them nervous because they called me about 5 times. After that they settled down nicely. It is just as nerve racking for them. Good luck to you.

I am off on Tuesdays every week and sometimes leave early on Saturday nights. I still get about 5 calls a night when I am gone, but I have always been available to come down and help with something or walk them through something over the phone. And I will make suprise visits, I usally have a fake excuse so I don’t have them feeling like I don’t trust them.

This time its up to them, I will have my phone but don’t plan on having it on, I will check messages every couple of hours and if need be I will call them back.

I had one particular manager who called me for every possible reason, and another who never called me no matter what (and never told me about any problems he had, I think to make me feel confident in him, which ironically made me less confident, like he was hiding stuff from me). I dealt with them the same way, with a “control” sheet. I had them both write down everything that went “wrong” and why, plus their action. It helped the harasser to slow down and see how trivial some stuff was and gave me a chance to see what was happening with the other (he still never called me). I verified the entries with other trusted staff. Some nights nothing bad happened, which is a relief to see. We also have a policy for dealing with every possible problem (within reason) so there is very few judgement calls they have to make.

Just a thought…when a “new” manager starts calling me at home for everything under the sun…I always say…can this wait until I get there tomorrow? Or I say I hired you to be the problem solver…you aren’t an idiot…if you make the wrong decision we will talk about it. It takes a few times of doing this before they finally get…I have a problem…I am the problem solver…what is the problem and what should I do about the problem…if they can’t figure it out they call.

I stopped figuring out the problems for them, after all that is what I am paying them for.

I used to get calls that we had run out of ranch dressing…where are the light bulbs…so and so is checking on their applications…and on and on. Now they know only to call if the place is on fire.

Obviously, there is a balance to be achieved, but I always feel more comfortable with the callers. The ones that never call make me nervous. Although some calls are annoying, I’m careful not to get on them too much else the situation tends to swing the other way.

I’m the same way. I’ve had assistant managers that NEVER called me, and that made me nervous.

I’m always very careful to not sound annoyed when they call, even if it is for something small. I don’t want them to be afraid to call me later on when it’s something major.

The ones that call me all the time make me crazy. I want to be called if the place is on fire, there was a car wreck, an employee seriously injured themselves or the place was robbed. Generally I get 2-3 calls a week and that is fine. I stop in the store another 2-3 times a week for an hour or two to look around. One of those times I will sit down and pay the bills.

Vacation? Every year. Generally no more than a week at a time, but I have gone as long as two weeks. I also had another job for 6 years where I traveled about 12-15 weeks a year out of town so my focus was to create systems that would ensure smooth operation when I am not in the store. Those systems have served me well. Some of those same systems are the ones that allow closer control of costs and better business measurments.

A key thing that new business owners need to learn is trust. It is not easy to do, but it truely is neccessary.

Congrats on that first vacation!