The holiday season is already right around the corner. This is a time of year where many people can put their work worries aside and spend some quality time with their friends and family. For business owners, however, it can be tough not to think about their business (and all the bills that go along with it!) even when they are surrounded by the people they love. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone.
Running a business demands a great deal of time and energy, and just like every human being, you deserve a balance between work and rest. Yes, the thought of abandoning your business or missing out on sales at such a peak time can be daunting, but it shouldn't be a reason to sacrifice much-deserved time off. After all, there's no point in working so hard if you can't enjoy the rewards of that effort. Is there a way you can enjoy your vacation guilt-free while keeping your business running smoothly? Yes, absolutely. Even if you want to catch up on all the sales you missed out on during COVID lockdowns, you can still do that without giving up your holiday. Here’s how:
1. Make plans in advance
If you've decided to go on vacation for the holidays, especially if it's an extended one, start planning your projects and meetings with your vacation dates in mind. While it's important for you to take a break, you can't just take a month off without preparing your business for it. At the same time, remember that your employees will likely require a break as well. So plan responsibly: keeping your employees' expectations in mind, prepare a to-do list in the order of your priorities. Try getting all of your most crucial tasks done early before you leave. This not only keeps your mind at ease but also helps avoid last-minute hiccups that require you to intervene while you're away enjoying the spirit of the season.
For a deeper look at how to plan ahead, check out this blog about effective time management tips that can help you make the most of every working hour.
2. Find your replacement
If you want your business to function smoothly while you're away, you must have a reliable employee fill in for you. That person must be in charge of overseeing your daily business activities and keeping the ship afloat while you are out. If you're truly worried about how this will turn out, try going mute for two or three days before you go away and see how your replacement handles the business in the meantime. This also prepares your team to handle your absence. To help operations run as smoothly as possible, ensure that the person who will take charge has everything needed to run the show while you’re gone and that the rest of the team knows what they are responsible for.
Here are a few things you may need to do when handing over your responsibilities:
Give the person in charge access to essential documents and passwords before you leave
Provide a checklist of bills that should be paid while you're away
Share all necessary key points of contact
3. Notify important people
Whether it's a vendor or a critical customer you're dealing with, it's best to keep them informed that you're not going to be able to attend to their questions directly for a while. Send them an email clearly stating:
The exact duration you’ll be absent from work
That you won't be able to reply to their emails during that time personally
Whom they should contact instead
When you do this, you empower the recipient to decide the best course of action based on their inquiry. They may approach you with any pressing concerns before you leave to avoid any room for unnecessary disappointments or miscommunication, or they may realise that it's not as urgent as they thought and wait until you get back.
4. Take advantage of automation
Beyond just the holiday season, business automation can take a huge workload off your shoulders and make everyday tasks much easier both for you and your employees. Here are a few suggestions on how you can use automation to keep your business sailing smooth while you're away.
Set up an email autoresponder for your personal mailbox that lets people know you are on holiday and you'll get back to them soon.
If you run an online store, make arrangements to send automated emails to your customers after every purchase notifying them of the status of their order.
Use chatbots on your website to answer common customer questions and suggest the best possible response from your knowledge base.
If you're used to handling your business' social profiles, pre-schedule all your blog posts and social media content to keep your channels updated.
Use well-designed accounting software to send automated invoices and payment reminders.
Read more on how automating your business processes helps you be more productive.
5. Set rules for yourself
Last but not least, take a deep breath and make it a priority to enjoy your vacation wholeheartedly. It's foolish even to go on vacation if you're still going to have a nagging feeling in the back of your mind about how your business is coping. One solution to fix this is by setting vacation rules for yourself.
Before going on a vacation, log out of all business apps and mailing lists except your "emergency only" email address.
Inform the person in charge and the other members of your team not to contact you unless it's absolutely necessary.
If you're still not convinced and want to keep your mind at peace, ask the person in charge to give you a quick update once every three or four days on your business' performance.
Having a worry-free vacation will undoubtedly enhance both your personal and professional life. To make your efforts worthwhile, fully commit to enjoying your break! In the long run, your business will thank you for it. We hope that our blog makes it easier for you to plan your next holiday. Are there any other tips you'd like us to add? Drop them in the comments below.