holiday, beachIn the 20-plus years that we have owned our business we have always managed to get away for a holiday. Last year we managed nine weeks, but that was exceptional. In the worst year we managed just two nights away. So how have we managed this?

To begin with the previous owners of our shop returned for a couple of weeks a year for several years until they found that they were too old to carry on. With a young family my wife and I were very pleased with this arrangement.

We found our next team of relief managers though our local NFRN branch. The husband and wife team had been active members of the branch and when they sold their shop offered their expertise for holiday cover. They were very good and honest people, but again age and family commitments caught up with them and we had to find a new relief manager.

This time again it was by being an active Federation member that we found Paul. He and his wife had sold their shop and set up a holiday relief service. Once again I had known the person we were going to leave in charge of our business and was comfortable that he would do a good job. It also helped that I knew some of the store owners that he had as clients and was able to talk to them about the quality of the service. My wife and I after nearly 10 years of leaving Paul in charge know that we will return with the store intact and operating as though we had not left it. Our customers see Paul as part of our team and are pleased that we get regular breaks away from our business.

In owner-operated business like ours it can be difficult to get away, but I have found that having been an active member of the NFRN has brought unexpected benefits.