Being your own boss is great most of the time, except when you decide to go on a holiday, especially in the early stages of your business. There is a lot of planning that goes behind the scenes just to keep things running smoothly for the week or two that you are going away. Even more if you are going for a longer break. If you have been in business for some time, you probably know all that you have to consider, but if you are just starting your entrepreneur journey, or previous breaks didn't go so well, keep reading to learn how to plan a perfect spring or summer holiday without harming your business.
Let everyone know in advance
Contact your clients personally to let them know you plan to be away for a certain period of time. Based on my experience, a month in advance works best, with one or two gentle reminders closer to the date of your holiday. This way you show responsibility and transparency and customers value these attributes really high. Also give yourself a couple of days after you return from your trip to adapt back to your normal environment. Make announcements on your social media channels so that the wider public is aware too. Sometimes this can act as a great marketing tool, even if you didn't intend for it to be such. When MBC announced our two week break over Christmas we encouraged any prospective clients to contact us as soon as possible so that we can complete their projects before the new year. We got 4 new clients in the first week of December.
Work harder than usual to make up for your absence
This is especially applicable to service based businesses that offer subscription packages, but also to product selling ventures if you produce the items yourself. You may have to spend extra hours or days to complete the outstanding work and stay focused. Make sure everything will be delivered as normal while you are away. A successful entrepreneur should know how to keep the business going in their absence and maintain a good customer satisfaction level.
Don't take more work than what you can complete
It is very important to be realistic about your physical abilities and resources. Keep in mind that prior to your holiday you will probably be exhausted and overworked so don't take additional projects or orders if you are not sure you can complete them on time. Failure to deliver on your promises will harm your business and most likely ruin your holiday.
Train your employees if you have any
If you are at a stage where you employ others for your business, running things as normal during your time off may be a tad easier. Simply because there will be a human being that can react in a critical situation. But for this to become possible, you will need to first train your staff and make sure they can complete tasks to the expected standard. If there is something that requires your technical knowledge or expertise, don't assign it to your employees to cover in your absence, except if they have the same skills and knowledge as you. Assuming you've let your customers know about your holiday plans, it's better for them to wait until you return rather than receive a lower quality product or service provided by someone else.
Make use of scheduling
Thank God for technology! Different scheduling tools will help you keep your presence on social media and the digital world in general. It is important because regular engagement maintains your strong relationship with your clients and builds brand trust and loyalty. However, schedule specific type of content to be posted when you are away to allow you to keep a healthy work-life balance. Create posts that won't generate many questions and focus on inspirational and entertaining content to still serve your community.
Set boundaries for yourself
Before you go on your long-awaited and well-deserved break, spend some time with yourself to decide on the work boundaries you want to put in place to be able to fully enjoy your break. Ask yourself these questions:
Will you be checking work emails?
Will you be engaging in conversations on social media?
Will you be replying to new customer enquiries?
What counts as a work emergency?
Under what circumstances would be acceptable for you to complete work-related tasks while on holiday?
How would your family or friends who came with you feel if you have to work during the break?
My advice is just unwind. The whole purpose of going on a holiday is to not think about work. I know this is much easier said than done, especially when you are the main driving force behind your business. I myself am going on a holiday this weekend. I've been working like crazy since the beginning of April, pulling several all-nighters to complete outstanding work. Honestly, I can't wait to close my laptop for a week, so please keep your fingers crossed for me and making the most of going on a holiday while running a small business.