How to Get Your Firm Ready for Your Vacation


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Do you need a vacation but don’t know how to prepare for it? In this podcast episode, Tyson underscores the importance of vacations for maintaining work-life balance and recharging. 

For business owners, it can be stressful to plan for a vacation without thinking about how the business will run while you are not there. Tyson shares some things to think about when planning a vacation and leaving the work to your team. Preparing for time off is all about strategically planning and figuring out who needs to oversee what and what needs to be worked on. In preparation, find a point person (for example, an executive assistant or office administrator) and brief them on everything that will need to be covered over the course of the vacation. If you have clients, let them know so they can contact your point person during that period.

Briefing your team and delegating responsibility is a big part of prepping for a vacation as a business owner. Set some time aside to meet with your teams and figure out what is coming up during the time you will be away. Go over what needs to be delivered and how to respond to certain scenarios so there are no surprises. Tyson shares the importance of ensuring you have an out of office message with all the relevant contact information so people know who to reach out to. As a business owner, have trust that your team will be on top of things while you are gone!

Take a listen.

Episode Highlights:

  • 00:23 The need for strategic planning to take vacations
  • 3:53 Briefing the assistant 
  • 5:01 Briefing the team and clients prior to a vacation
  • 10:20 The importance of trusting the team during a vacation


Transcripts: How to Get Your Firm Ready for Your Vacation

Tyson (00:02.166)
Hey everybody!

Tyson (00:05.974)
Hey there, it's Tyson. And today for this Saturday episode, I'm going to talk about vacations. And before those of you that say, I don't have time for a vacation, I'm going to give you a step-by-step way of getting ready for vacation so you can actually take a vacation and enjoy it while you are gone because stepping away from

does require some strategic planning, but it is necessary for you to really recharge your battery and get some of that creativity back that you need. You got to spend time with your family. You're not going to want to, in 30 years, 20 years, 30 years, wherever you are on the timeline, 40 years, you don't want to regret not spending time with friends, family, friends and family. So I'm going to hopefully give you some…

some tools on how to address that. But before I do, I just make sure you, if you want maximum or minimum time, for those of you that have been listening for a while, if you've not gotten it, make sure you get it. Get stage one for new listeners. Get stage one of maximum or minimum time. It's the roadmap that Jim and I created that we give to all Guild members absolutely free. You're going to get stage one for free just for being an amazing listener. And just text stage one to 314-501.

9 2 6 0 that's the number or the word either one stage 1 3 1 4 5 0 1 9 2 6 0. I'm going to talk a little bit about one of my favorite places to vacation with family. I don't know if it's the number one, it might be, but we really love going to the Smoky Mountains. We really enjoy it. It's a lot of fun. Kids like seeing the bears and being out in the woods and going hiking and it's a really cool place.

to recharge. What's also kind of cool is you, on the Tennessee side at least, there's a lot of touristy things. So if you do want to take the kids into town to do some touristy things, you can do that as well. But it is one of the things where we normally go once a year. One of the first times we went, I don't know if it was the absolute first time, but our daughter, she had been wanting to go on a vacation.

Tyson (02:29.546)
She came home one day and said, hey, I want to go to the Smokies. And we talked about doing it and we had taken a trip and we hadn't really decided on anything. And we did things maybe the wrong way. We did things where I wouldn't necessarily recommend that you do, but we got on a Verbo or Airbnb that night and booked a place for the week and left down the next day. So it was a lot of time, a lot of fun.

And luckily we have a wonderful team that did not interrupt me at all. It was awesome. And they really allowed us to enjoy our time. And that's what I want for you. But for those of you that are maybe in a smaller firm, I understand that it's very challenging to do something like that. And for those of you that are in bigger firms, same thing. I get it. It can be tough, but I want it.

you to be able to have the same thing, those same types of well-deserved vacations without worrying about the firm while you're gone. Now, could I have done that every single week? No, because of other obligations, but I just so happened to have that week available and we had the resources, the team that could fill in where need be. So I was able to, but let's do things the right way. And let's first talk about…

the role of your assistant or whatever you want to call them, but you're going to have to have someone that you can really rely on in this. And so it's one of those things that having an assistant, once you get to a certain size, I definitely recommend having an executive assistant, but even if it's just someone that you, an office administrator, someone like that, that you can rely on while you're gone, really important. But before you leave…

you're going to want to brief them thoroughly. So whoever this point person is, you're going to want to brief them about everything that's going on. While I'm gone, my executive assistant, Elizabeth, she monitors my emails, she messages, she monitors my messages, and she is the main point of contact, the only point of contact for staff while I'm gone. During the vacation, she is empowered to handle.

Tyson (04:44.37)
routine matters and only reach out to me if there's an absolute emergency. And having this buffer it's key to ensuring that I'm not going to be bombarded with a bunch of messages and that the firm runs smoothly without me being there. Really, I can't stress that buffer enough. But now let's kind of give you a step-by-step on what you should do in preparation for the vacation.

about two weeks before leaving, you're going to want to brief your team and any clients that you need to inform of your upcoming unavailability. And you're going to want to assure them that your assistant or whoever the point person is, is going to be handling any of your matters in your absence. So you're going to want to give them someone that they can reach out to. Because if you don't, they're going to reach out to you. Okay. So does it matter?

None of this matters if you don't give them a point person. So you're gonna wanna give them a point person to reach out to, especially those of you crazies that give your clients cell phone numbers. You're gonna wanna give them a point of contact in case they need to reach out to you and get ahold of you. Number two is you're going to delegate specific responsibilities. Okay, so you're gonna assign responsibilities to your team members. Ensure that each person knows what's expected of them.

and how to handle specific scenarios that may arise. One thing to consider is as you're doing this, start to document it, okay? So this is what happens if blank occurs, and then you explain what happens. And as you document that, you're not gonna have to tell people the next time because they're gonna already know, right? Because you've got it documented somewhere, so just that's a little side point. But make sure you're delegating specific responsibilities.

This is what happens if a court calls. This is what happens if a new lead calls. Assign different responsibilities to different people. The third thing is emergency protocol. Okay, so you're gonna establish a very clear definition of what constitutes an emergency, and then you're gonna tell them what to do if that actually happens. But this is gonna ensure that you're only contacted when absolutely necessary.

Tyson (07:13.378)
but you need to define for them, and I'm not going to define for you what an emergency is, what an emergency for your firm is, it can be different from an emergency for our firm. You're going to also want to list some examples so people have an idea, kind of like what I did before when it comes to, before I get another episode, I talked about an urgent matter, we talked about office hours in a previous episode. And if-

And if a client were driving to the office looking for the office because they had a deposition scheduled, that's an urgent matter. Now, this is not an emergency, but that's an urgent matter. But that's an example of an urgent matter. That way someone might break the office hours protocol to reach out to you. So that's something that's urgent, right? Here's something that might be an emergency. Client says that they are on their way to the office for their deposition.

you're out of town. That sounds like it might be an actual emergency. But what you would do is you would hand it off to the assistant. They would contact the assistant. The assistant would try to resolve the matter and they probably would be able to. That's the situation. Well, it's actually pretty simple. Even though it may seem like an emergency, it's probably more disurgent than anything else because you could say, well, the reality is there's nothing we can do about it because I'm out of town.

So the assistant would work on rescheduling everything, letting the necessary people know, great. However, what may be an emergency if you're a criminal defense attorney and you don't have a jury trial scheduled on your calendar and your case gets called out. So I'll use the city of St. Louis for example, city of St. Louis for criminal cases, they put you on this rollover docket and then your case might get called out on a Monday, a Tuesday, Wednesday.

or it may not get called out at all. Maybe you don't have it on your calendar and your case gets called out. Well, that's an emergency that you're going to have to deal with. Is anything going to happen? Are you going to be able to appear? Probably not, but you could at least address it. So that's an emergency. There is a distinct difference between urgent and emergency and you need to define that for your people. The next thing is, is that, make sure you're preparing your point of contact.

Tyson (09:37.366)
So you're going to provide your assistant or your point of contact with all the necessary information and resources they need on where you're going to be and how to get all of you. So this includes access to files, key contacts, any detailed instructions on handling various scenarios. So you're going to want to make sure that they have all the information that they need to handle any matters while you're gone. Really important. And then the last thing, this is simple, but it's something you should do.

Set your out of office reply. Just remember to do that. That way people know if they do respond to you or email you that they're not going to get a response right away. And they may not get one for one or two weeks. It depends on how long you're gone. But let them know in that out of office reply that how they can get ahold of your assistant. So give their information, give their email, give the phone number to the office and who to speak to.

Make sure that they have that information that way they can get any answers for any urgent matters that they might have. All right. So I can just tell you from my personal experience, I can't stress enough the importance of trusting your team in this. I know that many of you have issues with that. You have trust issues, but you've got to trust your team. If you don't, you're never going to get to the point where you can go and you're relaxed somewhere. You've got to give them the ability to make mistakes. They might make some mistakes while you're gone.

but most mistakes can be fixed. You're going to want to delegate here, resist the urge to micromanage. Remember, vacations are meant to be fun, but a big part of it is disconnecting from work so you can recharge. All right, so remember to effectively take a vacation, you're going to want to prepare as a firm owner. It might seem daunting, but…

Use those steps that I just gave you and it's absolutely doable. Trust your team to handle the things while you're gone. As a reminder, if you have something you want me to cover on the Saturday show, shoot me a text and I'll try to cover it. 314-501-9260. I would love to hear from you. We've had just so many great suggestions and I will continue to get to them as I can. Until next week, remember that consistent action is the blueprint that turns your goals

Tyson (12:05.663)
into reality. Take care.

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