Keeping your business ticking over while you take a break


More freedom and flexibility to take holidays 


More freedom and flexibility to take holidays is a dream for small business owners, however making sure your business ticks over seamlessly while you’re taking a break requires some careful planning.


George Hartley ran his small business while on a six month holiday in Berlin in the last half of 2015.

The director and co-founder of an email app for ecommerce stores called Smartrmail, says his six team members in Melbourne and Adelaide coped brilliantly while he and his girlfriend travelled through Berlin and other parts of Europe.

And he’s not alone. Findings from a recent report revealed the desire for a more balanced family life is one of the greatest drivers for Australians wanting to run their own business.

The Xero Australia Working Parents Report, published in 2016, found there’s an assumption that the majority of small business owners work around the clock, however the fact is that the vast majority of business owners (94%) spend more quality time with their children than they did in their previous jobs.

Hartley said he worked eight hour days plus a few hours on weekends while exploring Berlin, though often late at night as it worked better with Australian time zones.

“The 4G coverage was good, so we found it wasn’t an issue to be working from trains, cafes and Airbnb accommodation.”

Smartrmail enables users to send customised email newsletters, based on what customers purchase and look at on the site. Business profits are growing at 20% per month.

“We’re a small team and we hire smart people who are happy to take ownership of what they’re working on.”


Utilising technology

Slack and Trello were their key team communication tools. Other important tools used during the working holiday included Google Apps for email and shared documents, Stripe for payments and analytics, Intercom for customer service and insights and ChartMogul, which offers deeper analytics and insights. 

“We’re a small team and we hire smart people who are happy to take ownership of what they’re working on. So when everyone in the business operates like an owner, there’s less need for supervision and oversight. We all just take a project and task and try to get it done. And I figured if it really wasn’t working, I’d just come back,” Hartley says.

“Our tech lead is based in Europe, so he came across to Berlin to work with me. We just grabbed desks in a Berlin co-working space, which was a fantastic experience.”

Cyber insurance can help protect you and your customer’s data, when you’re working remotely or through shared and public internet connections. Speak to your Steadfast insurance broker at Cartwrights, who can help advise you on the right insurance product to support your business needs.  



Are you a small business owner wanting to take a holiday? Here’s some tips to make it happen: 


  1. Get travel insurance: Travel safely by making sure your business and travel insurance can cover you during the trip, both for any issues that might occur while you’re away, and for theft or breakages during the holiday. See your advisor at Cartwrights who can arrange insurance cover for you. 
  2. Learn to delegate: Learn how to delegate responsibility and don’t be incommunicado for too long. 
  3. Get a cloud solution: Have technology in place to automate as much as you can. Using a cloud system to access up-to-date information about your business is important. For accounting, a system such as Xero, MYOB or Quickbooks is ideal. Also think about the best Content Management System (CMS) such as Wordpress, Drupal or Joomla. 
  4. Make plans early: Start planning how you could step away from the business months before you actually do. Once the time comes, determine if and when you plan to make contact or work while you’re away. 
  5. Rely on middle management: Having people in your business that you trust is also important. Empower your department heads to make decisions and keep their respective divisions running smoothly while you’re on holidays. 
  6. Have job descriptions: Have a clear job description for everyone in the business so that responsibilities can be assigned while you’re away from the office. 
  7. Share your business values: Make sure everyone comes to work feeling motivated and happy to be there. Key values can be a great tool to provide guidance to staff.


To help manage your risks and to give you peace of mind while you travel, make sure you arrange a time to speak to your advisor at Cartwrights who can review your insurances and advise you further. 

Article Brought to you through Well Covered and Cartwrights