In the Trenches: Back in the Saddle
If you've been wondering where my column has been for the last few weeks, I've been taking a break. See, my son was born four weeks ago and that meant I needed to take time off. Of course, it's easier to take time off from writing a column than it is from running the business. Fortunately, that's worked out well too.
I had started planning long in advance of my absence, because I didn't know when my son would actually be born. I knew I had to be ready whenever it happened. It turned out the little guy wasn't in a hurry, so we ended up going in on our own schedule. That helped my business planning purposes tremendously.
Though there are some parts of the business that work well without me, I'm still a central hub for the operation. Clients come directly to me, concierges run things by me, and I was concerned that the business would struggle to keep moving well in my absence. The good news: I had a plan to prevent that from happening.
What I ended up doing was having one my concierges step into my spot. I had him deal directly with incoming clients and made him the primary contact for bookings. He was tasked with working closely with our intern, who was stepping up his role manning the accounting and trip setup functions.
As you might assume would happen, the first day I was out, there was a crushing amount of work that came in the door. I was so relieved to see my team handle it flawlessly. Sure, I received a couple of calls with questions, but that was OK. I could spare a little time for that as long as the operation kept movin on the wholeg.
I ended up taking one week off almost completely and the next I spent getting ramped back up. By week three, I was back up and running again, but with frequent breaks for changing diapers.
I was feeling really good about it all until the concierge who stepped in for me explained that he had been offered a dream job and would have to scale back his work with us. (He's still doing the concierge work, but he won't be able to step into a greater role here permanently.) Sigh. I was really liking the setup that I had going there for a while. I think I might start working toward building that back again so I can actually go on vacation one of these days.
Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.