Do you prepare your small business for vacation?
Everybody deserves a break, and you are no different. As an entrepreneur, you want to dedicate as much time as you can to your small business, but remember that a work-life balance is important too.
If you’re starting to feel too worn out to be productive, your body is telling you that it’s time for a break. By creating processes to streamline work tasks in your absence, you can step away from the office and breathe easily; everything will still be there when you get back.If you're starting to feel too worn out to be productive, your body is telling you that it's time for a break and a vacation. #InspireToThrive Click To Tweet
Automate Communication to Prepare Your Small Business for Vacation
Email, phone, and text are the main ways people communicate in this hyper-connected world. If you’re concerned about missed calls or emails from clients or colleagues, understand that there are options.
While you enjoy your vacation, unplug and take advantage of automation services available for free or at a low cost. You might also consider implementing some of these even when you’re not on vacation — they are useful tools.
- Look into an after-hours answering service. This means that, instead of having a contact person available 24/7 within your company, you outsource another business to take after-hours calls. For example, if a customer has an emergency at midnight and you are unavailable to answer, the call will be routed to the answering service. Answering companies will vary on things like U.S.-based operators, available apps, and hours of operation, so ensure you’ve done your research before choosing one.
- Create an out-of-office reply for emails. Most major email services like Gmail and Outlook allow this setting, and it’s valuable for any business owner. An out-of-office reply lets you select the calendar dates you will be gone. Then customize an email that will auto-reply to anything that comes in your inbox between those dates. Usually, it’s something short and sweet: “I will be on vacation from X date to X date. If you have an emergency, please contact this telephone number.” (This can be also where you list your after-hours telephone number.)
- Create content ahead of time. If you regularly maintain a website, blog, or social media platform, you know how important it is to constantly be creating fresh content. Instead of taking your precious vacation time to post and upload, let an app do it for you. A quick Google search will yield hundreds of results for apps and programs that will schedule social media posts for you. Pick the one that looks best to you before leaving; this way, while gone, you can do nothing but watch the likes and comments roll in and sip your drink.
Remind Employees of the Chain of Command
Even if you love your employees and treat them like family, it’s always a smart idea to give them a refresher on what to do in case of an emergency. Especially when you are away for some time.
Host a brief huddle with the staff and make certain they all understand the chain of command. Remind everybody:
- Who their direct supervisor is
- Which important contact information there is
- What is an emergency in your small business
- Where calls and emails need to be directed in lieu of going straight to you
Take the time to open the forum afterward for questions and answers. Your staff might be lovely and competent, but a learning opportunity is never wasted. This could be a great teachable moment for all of you.
Stay in Touch With Clients As You Prepare Your Small Business for Vacation
Don’t forget to let your customers know that you will be away from the office before you leave. Not only does it look and feel more professional to hear it from the CEO themselves, but clients will appreciate knowing ahead of time.
Bounce-back emails and after-hours receptionists are less of a shock (or annoyance) as clients understand you cannot be reached during your vacation.Don't forget to let your customers know that you will be away from the office before you leave. #takeavacation Click To Tweet
Don’t Forget To Have Fun
Your small business is your baby, and it’s difficult to leave when you’ve worked so hard to get it where it is today. Remember, though: There’s something to be said about taking time for yourself after all the hard work and stress.
Humans need to take time for themselves and recharge every so often, and that means you too. Make use of the tools at your disposal. Then, be sure to communicate with staff and clients to ensure your vacation is as stress-free as possible.
Below is an image from my favorite vacation a few years ago:
Your Vacation Away from Your Small Business
When was your last vacation from your business? How do you prepare your small business for vacation? Do you have an upcoming vacation coming up?
I’d love to know more about that in the comments section below.