The holidays are a wonderful time of the year. There’s great food, cool decorations, Charlie Brown specials and vacation. Everything sounds great unless you’re a small business owner and your business isn’t ready for you to step away for any period of time.
If you’re a small business owner and you’re worried about going on vacation this holiday season, I’m going to give you some tips that will help you step away from the office and enjoy the holidays this year.
Plan for the Future
One concern that small business owners have at the end of the year is losing leverage and allowing the competition to come in and benefit from their absence; fortunately taking a break during the holidays doesn’t have to mean stopping everything in its tracks. The holidays are a perfect time for you to present content that’ll get your clients excited about your future endeavors.
Notice that was present content and not create content because you should be planning weeks in advance for your well-deserved break. Have your blog posts, newsletters and social media posts locked, loaded and ready to go weeks in advance. To make this a success, software like MailChimp or Benchmark are going to be your best friend for sorting your emails and platforms like Hootsuite and Buffer will be your best friend for social media.
Make an Announcement
Holiday vacation isn’t just about you as a business owner; it’s also about your clients. Any time you’re going to be out of the office for an extended period of time, your customers/clients should know about it.
One way to make the announcement is to send out a newsletter. A holiday newsletter can serve a few purposes. First of all it can be used to send holiday greetings to all your subscribers, second, to let them know that you’ll be out of the office and third, to make announcements about any other ventures you may have coming in the future.
Inquiries from client or prospects should be treated as another opportunity to make good impression. Make sure that you have autoresponders in place so that people that are interested in your product or services know what’s going on. Leave as much pertinent information as possible so that there are no issues once you are back in the office.
For those that would rather communicate via email, autoreply messages serve the same purpose as autoresponders.
One of the most effective ways to make announcements is to simply post it on your website. Have your designer place a banner on your website notifying visitors of holiday hours and any other information you’d like to add. Your designer may even be able to add a festive touch to your site for the holidays as well.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a staff that will still be working while you’re away, make sure that they have everything they need and are trained to handle any situation. When you go on vacation you’re probably going to have to assign some of the tasks that you normally handle to someone else. It’s important that they have all the passwords and documents they need beforehand or you can expect to get some unwanted emails or phone calls during your absence.
Two of the most trusted platforms that business owners like to use for sharing information with team members are Dropbox and Evernote. You’ll have the freedom to give as many people as you like access to all of your important files.
Prepare for Problems
Let’s face it; things don’t always go as planned, so we have to plan for that. If you have employees in the office, make sure that they can reach you if they need to. Now I know some people may say that if you’re on vacation you should leave your phone, laptop and everything else behind. Well I don’t believe in that. Your business is like one of your children, even if you get a break from them, you should only be a phone call away if needed.
If no one is going to be in the office, you should check your messages and emails, not as often as you normally would but just to ensure that there are no issues that require your immediate attention.
Some business owners use virtual assistants throughout the year and give them more responsibilities during the holidays. They can handle your phone calls and even complete tasks that you would have normally done. Just make sure that you’re using a virtual assistant company with a good track record and experience in what you’re asking them to do.
When you set your vacation dates make sure that you’re back in your office a day or two before the date posted. This gives you time to go through all your emails and messages so you can develop a game plan.
Being a business owner is a tremendous privilege and it should never be taken lightly. I believe that most business owners know that; which is why they work so hard. I’m sure you’re putting in massive number of hours throughout the year and you deserve to take time away during the holidays.
As long as there is a preparation stage before you start vacation you should be fine and ready to come out swinging when you return. If you need help planning for the holidays Apex Virtual Solutions can help you make a smooth transition to and from holiday mode. We have a team of skilled and experienced professionals ready and willing to help. Get ready to enjoy your family, eat some good food and watch Charlie Brown.