How to take a holiday as a small business owner
There’s never a perfect time to take a holiday as a small business owner, and the mere thought of taking a break from your business can be daunting to say the least! Small business owners are notorious for not taking holiday, with only 57% planning to take a yearly vacation. It’s all too easy to focus on the potential negative consequences of taking a well deserved rest. But with Christmas holidays fast approaching, here is our guide to taking a holiday from your business.
Be honest about it!
It can be tempting as a small business owner to perpetuate the “always on, always busy” stereotype, as if your brand and business will collapse without you. But taking a holiday is just as important for your mental health as the health of your business. A break can give you the time and perspective you might need to evaluate your business and come back refreshed with new ideas.
“‘I am very pro switching off and taking holidays, I manage to do this as I hand over runnings to my team — but I also encourage other business owners to switch off and take holidays through outsourcing to VAs” Caroline Marshall, business owner and founder of Upsource says.
Let your clients/suppliers/team know that you’ll be taking a break with plenty of time in advance so they know that you won’t be around and not to contact you, and give them your lead’s contact information so you won’t be bothered while you’re away.
As with everything when it comes to running a successful business, the more foresight and planning that goes in, the more you get out. If you want to take some holiday, especially at a popular time or year, or a season that is traditionally busy for your industry, it pays to think ahead.
Look back at the same period in years past, what were your main focuses? Do they still apply? Were there spikes in orders/enquiries? What learnings can you utilise to prepare yourself this year?
To make sure you get the holiday you need as a business owner, it can also be really helpful to do some scenario planning with your team covering your absence: “If this happens, then do that” so they are completely prepared for anything that might happen while you’re off and you can relax, safe in the knowledge that they are ready for anything.
Automate, automate, automate
One of our top tips for helping your business to run smoothly, whether you’re on vacation or not, is to automate as many of your processes as possible (and a Virtual Assistant with expertise in implementing systems and processes can be very helpful here).
This might mean autoresponders on your social media profiles to handle DMs, it might be triggered email sequences, it could be training your team to use an algorithm to handle enquiries. It might be as simple as hooking up your apps with a software like IFTTT or Zapier. Take as much off your plate as possible, and you might decide these programmes will save you time all year round.
Define your boundaries
To make sure you don’t spend your break glued to your phone, or taking your laptop to the beach every day, be really clear on your boundaries with yourself and with your team. If you feel like you can’t take a clean break and go cold turkey, define the hours that you will be available, taking into account the rhythm of your days away and any time difference there might be.
It’s also really important to define what constitutes an ‘emergency’ if you’re only to be contacted in the unlikely event. Your definition of emergency might be the office burning down, to your team it might be a complaint, or a new business enquiry. Be clear when it is and isn’t appropriate to contact you.
Who is in charge of the business while you’re away?
Outsource / Upsource
Outsourcing can make the difference between a restful, restorative holiday from your business and a stressful, running from hotspot to cafe with wifi
If you’re a solo entrepreneur or running a small team business, taking a break might seem impossible, or a huge imposition on an already busy team. But, by bringing in a Virtual Assistant to relieve some of the load, and stress, you can take a holiday safe in the knowledge that your business and team is being supported with expert help. Remember, although it’s you taking the holiday, it doesn’t necessarily mean your VA is best used covering your responsibilities. Work with your team, and plan how best to use your VA. Your business might be best served by your Virtual Assistant taking on some of your team’s responsibilities so they have more capacity to take on your duties while you’re on holiday.
Out of Office
Get that Out Of Office on! Safe in the knowledge that you’ve holiday-proofed your business and you can relax.
If you’d like to arrange some small business support to cover your holiday, contact Caroline and she can help you find the best Virtual Assistant to fit your needs while you’re sunning yourself on the beach.