Are you one of those business owners who dreads going on holiday? Does the thought of getting everything ready in the business make you wonder if its all worth it? Are you one of those people who would rather take the easy approach as its just too much work?
It maybe the easy approach not to take any breaks at all though we feel its very easy to become a healthy workaholic if you get organised. I found a break was just the pill I needed after such a difficult 12 months and I know that it will be the same for you too.
As we are approach another bank holiday it got me thinking, I know how stressful it can be to not have processes in place so that everything is completed before you go. For this reason, after going through the process myself, I wanted to share my tips so that you don’t find yourself avoiding a much-needed break.
With a little preparation.
Many business owners feel they have to forfeit breaks away because their business won’t run itself in their absence. In certain businesses this may still be true but in many, a little bit of thought, technology and flexibility whilst you are away, can offer you the opportunity to get away in the knowledge that your business will still be running strong upon your return.
If you do take a holiday as a small business owner consider it a part-time break, where at least you won’t be working as hard as normal and a change of scene will help recharge your batteries. It is easy to say you should go on holiday and switch off completely but in reality few can. Your business is like one of your family and just like them will never be far from your mind. So plan the break with that in mind.
Schedule your social media
Use tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, etc to schedule some LinkedIn and Facebook posts that will make all appear normal to your followers, fans and clients. If you have a blog, schedule a post to go live whilst you are away. As a belts and braces, check that your holiday destination has internet connectivity via Wi-Fi or mobile data. Firstly, to check on any feedback or social messages that may need a response. Secondly, to adjust any scheduled posts that may prove inappropriate perhaps due to matters in the news or the industry you are in.
Consider delegating wisely
If your business is more than just you give strong thought to training others in the business on the things you do. Not only will it help you have more regular and less stressful breaks in the future, it is also a good idea for any business. Disaster, illness and just life changes mean too often knowledge and understanding of procedures and processes are lost when a single person is no longer in situ. By training people in your team not only will you create greater team cohesion but also stronger long term business continuity.
Employ a virtual assistant
You may not be able to leave full control of the business to A N Other in your absence, but you can certainly delegate some of the more administrative tasks so that you have more time to enjoy your break and it need not be to someone within your business. You can divert all calls straight to a virtual assistant where they will answer the call in your business name telling the caller you cannot take their call at the moment – or whatever message you want to be given. The virtual assistant will then take down a message from the caller and promise to forward it on, which they can usually do via text, call or email depending on what arrangements you have made. When you return from your break you may see the value of using a virtual assistant on an ongoing basis, plus there may be more tasks that they could do for you, to give you even more time back!
Don’t keep your absence quiet
You should always be open, honest, and transparent with your clients, tell them that you are taking a break and let them know when you go and when you will be back. In my experience clients are always fully supportive if they know. My process is to drop them a simple email a couple of days before I go, so that if they have anything they would like to discuss with me, there is time before I go away. If you have planned and prepared in this way, then you can just go off and enjoy your break.
Last but not least
Make sure that you add a clear out of office to your email, letting anyone that reaches out to you know that you are away and that you are not responding to emails. Make sure that you include when your break starts and finishes, to manage people’s expectations. Also consider your mobile phone, your approach will depend on whether you are diverting calls to a virtual assistant service or if not then you can just record a simple message.
We understand the importance of having a regular break, what’s great is once you have been through this process for one holiday, make sure you have it documented for the next. Plus, you may have things you wish to add to it, specific to your business. If this is the case, add these things into the mix.
Now you can just enjoy your break - can't you?
If you’re still unable to unwind, relax and enjoy your break, talk to us.
Taking a break doesn’t need to be an effort and, like many other business owners we’ve already helped, we can also help you to put systems in place that give you peace-of-mind while you are away.