For reservists who own their own businesses or franchises, drilling can be dicey.
Most entrepreneurs delight in being hands-on: Nobody knows how to manage the shop better than they do.
So how do they keep things running smoothly when they have to fulfill their duty in uniform? Here’s how to make it work:
1. Build a circle. If reserve duty is going to call you away, be sure you have people you can call on to help. Mostly likely this will be a core group of senior employees who have proven they will work in the interests of the business, even without daily handholding. This “circle of trust” is your go-to team when you need to go.
2. Manage the cash. Leaving the business temporarily doesn’t mean you have to leave the books behind. Electronic banking makes it easy to keeps tabs on finances even when you’re fulfilling reserve duty. Pay bills online. Check balances. Manage cash flow.
When you swap into civvies after a day of drilling, it’s easy enough to power on the finances.
3. Detail tasks. When leaving the business temporarily in the hands of others, it won’t do to simply say, “Take care of it, team.”
When you’re in uniform, everyone has a job, a specific task to fulfill. Same holds true in your business. Your backup team should have the specific, functional instructions so that everybody knows just who is doing what, and when, and why.
4. Let go. When you’re away on those weekend maneuvers, be away. Let your backup team play their game, without interfering. Call in once in a while, sure, but just rarely. Otherwise lay low.
Their time in charge will help your star players to grow even stronger, and stepping back will free you to focus on the work the government is paying you to do.
5. Groom a backup. As the owner, you have probably been the face of the business. You’re the one customers first meet, the one they turn to with questions and requests. The person you leave in charge while you’re away will become that face, and you need to groom them for the role.
They won’t just be keeping the lights on: They will be representing the business, in how they interact with the public, in how they treat customers and prospects. It’s worth taking the time to teach them how it’s done.