School Holidays: Time in or time out of your business?
Author – Cathy Love
This blog has been previously published however I wanted to share it with you again as the content is still relevant and valuable.
We work with children and families whose year is largely defined by the school year—I get this. However. I have noticed something. The business owners who actively plan to maximise school holiday time with clinical and management activities have smoother cash flows and a more paced approach to management and leadership. Let’s consider this further.
A business defined by 40 weeks is simply that, and that’s all. The emphasis is working flat-out, seeing as many clients as daylight permits, and cramming in midnight management. The school holidays provide a crashmat and hopefully enough recovery time to… rinse and repeat for following term. Any holiday’s sessions or groups are a last-minute thought, clients potentially overcommit and end up cancelling due to the rush of it all in closing weeks of term. Team members drop to part-time, work to complete reports, and updates files. The start of term brings a dash to contact people and confirm sessions. There may only be a handful of business planning days per year and these tend to focus on the term ahead. A long time ago, I ran a business like this and it was exhausting. I do wonder whether this is a sustainable business model, what are your thoughts?
This could be different. An increasing number of allied health business owners now report that school holidays are their busiest time from both an appointment and business management perspective. The change of routine provides a different mindset and the opportunity to dive into deep and sustained thought on business activities. The 48-week business gives you more management time. A chance to work ON the business not IN it. From my own experience, this is a critical success factor for business.
Here are some of the tasks the managers of 48-week businesses get up during school holidays:
- They sit with wall planners and forward plan the next 12 months. Associated with this are events they may be running, future group programs, screenings, education sessions, and the like. The time to plan the content is dropped into diaries and Trello cards along with the marketing activities.
- Social media content is written and curated from favourite sites. Everything is loaded into scheduling tools that are set to be released during coming weeks.
- Business plans are pulled off the wall, reviewed, and adjusted.
- Meetings are booked with accountants and book keepers, interestingly school holidays roughly align with BAS periods, so it is perfect timing to check Profit and Loss statements.
- They attend marketing, social media, leadership courses when possible.
- Professional development plans are discussed with team members, documented, and actions forward booked.
- The go out for lunch with like-minded allied health business owners.
- They meet with their business coach, often for longer sessions. Well I can’t argue with this one!
There are lots of advantages to a 48-week business mindset. I appreciate that childcare is a juggle, but to work towards using school holiday time to work ON your business is the first step.
What next steps can you take to work towards this?