There are many benefits to owning a small business – but holiday time typically isn’t one of them.
When you’re responsible for making sure emails are answered, deadlines are met and queries are dealt with swiftly, it doesn’t leave much time to head away for a full weekend, let alone a real break.
That said, work-life balance is key to staying well, especially when you’re usually going at a million miles an hour. Here’s how to have a holiday and relax, knowing your business is taken care of.
Give plenty of notice.
Your customers, suppliers and other stakeholders don’t expect you to work 365 days a year – provided you give them as much notice as possible about upcoming breaks. This will let them make their own plans, such as ordering ahead, finding an alternate supplier for that time or working to the holiday schedule you’ve set.
Add an auto-reply to your email about your break and when you’ll be back, as well as contact information for a staff member for urgent inquiries. If the business will be running differently while you’re away, make a note on your website, social media channels and business directory listings to ensure everybody knows when you’ll be back, refreshed and ready to work.
Take a holiday during your quiet period.
Most businesses experience peaks and troughs throughout the year. Pick one of your slow times to take a break. This reduces the pressure of getting ahead before you leave or catching up when you get back. You’ll also minimise the number of potential lost sales that come with taking time off.
Train your employees throughout the year.
Even if you’re not currently planning a holiday, start to make a habit of training your employees throughout the year on tasks that you usually take care of. This way, when you do go away, they’ll already have some experience in looking after the basic aspects of your role and keeping the business ticking along.
If your team doesn’t have the manpower or the skills to cover your position, consider hiring a contractor or temp worker who can be trained to cover the essentials in your absence.
Plan for business check-ins.
Switching off is important, but realistically, you’ll probably be tempted to check in on your business while you’re away. Instead of feeling guilty and fretting over it, plan quick set times to check emails and deal with urgent requests only.
For example, you could set aside 45 minutes every other morning to check on the business and delegate vital tasks, then close the tab and get back to enjoying your break.
Set your marketing on auto-pilot.
You don’t have to give up your marketing efforts just because you’re not at your desk. Thanks to the power of technology, you can schedule a lot of your marketing elements in advance and use ‘set and forget’ automation tools while you’re away. Here’s how to get started:
- Schedule your social media posts. Create and schedule your social media posts to be automatically published on a date and time of your choosing. If you’re on multiple social media platforms and want to take this a step further, tools like Thryv also allow you to manage and schedule all your activity from one dashboard.
- Automate your marketing emails. With automation software (such as Thryv) you can trigger automatic email send-outs for new customers, customers who haven’t made a purchase in a while, customers who have abandoned their shopping carts and more.
- Use form triggers. Form triggers automatically generate an email response any time a person enters their details in a form. For example, if you have a customer inquiry form on your website, you can use a form trigger to activate a reply without any manual effort. Depending on your website, you may be able to set up a form trigger directly through your website builder or by integrating with email software such as Mailchimp.
Do a trial run.
Tell your staff you’ll be away for a short period (it could be a few days or even just a few hours during a peak time) and see how things run. If it’s all good, you know you’re on track to leaving for a longer stint. If there are issues, don’t worry – it’s great they’ve been detected and you now know what areas to work on before going away.
Bring in a marketing expert to help.
If you’re overdue for a break but you don’t want your marketing to suffer, our expert team is always happy to help. Yellow Pages has a range of services to help your business get ahead. Find out more or give us a call on 1800 670 722.