Let's face it, everyone needs a little R & R. Whether you're going away for a full week of travel to some far away exotic destination or taking an extended long weekend at the cottage, it's likely you'll take some time for yourself or for friends and family this summer. When you do, you'll want to be certain that your business will function as smoothly as possible without you. But, how can that be? For the small business owner getting away can often be a challenge. You're a very important person and your co-workers and staff can't possibly manage without you, can they? Most likely they can or they wouldn't be working with/for you. For your own peace of mind, here's six items which should be on your checklist at work as you prepare to get away from it all.
1. Plan your absence
This seems obvious but, make certain your co-workers or staff are aware of your schedule and availability (if any) for responding to emergencies. Be sure to brief them on any specific clients, projects or situations that might require their attention and empower them to contact you if necessary.
If you're going someplace where you can't be easily reached you could schedule some times when you can check in with a phone call. In many cases, such calls would likely only last a few minutes at most leaving you plenty of time to hit the beach or the shade of a tree.
2. Keep clients informed
If your business is project-based you might want to notify clients you're currently working with about your scheduled absence and let them know who they may contact during that time. In some cases you might be responding to emergency requests, in which case you should reassure your clients that their needs will be met.
3. Change your voicemail
Let those who try to reach you by phone during your vacation know that you're away by changing your voicemail greeting. Once again, make certain they know when you'll return and who they can contact in case of an emergency.
4. Set email auto responders
It's easy to want to forget about email, but can you really? It's easier still to tell yourself you'll only check it once a day but limit yourself so as not to get sucked into work while you're away. The best of both worlds would be to briefly check email, but set up out of office replies so your clients aren't expecting your usually rapid response. You can choose whether an immediate response is necessary, but if you don't need to no one will be feeling un-loved.
5. Schedule your marketing/communication releases
There's no reason for social media posts to fall by the wayside simply because you're swinging in a hammock somewhere. If you don't have someone to delegate your social media management to, there are still plenty of ways to schedule your posts so they appear magically as if fashioned by elves at night. Most blogging software and email newsletter services include a scheduling feature.
We've also mentioned in a previous post on vacationing that there are social media dashboards such as Hootsuite which allow you to aggregate all your social media feeds in one place for ease of use. These dashboards allow you to schedule posts so that you can do a lot of the work of creating messages in advance. And now that Facebook have added the ability to schedule posts onto business timelines you really have no excuse for going AWOL from your business page.
6. Finally... Relax!
This last one should really go without saying, but too many of us forget the purpose of a vacation. Don't waste precious moments. If you're taking time away from work, then make the most of it. Spend quality time with friends and family and give yourself a little "me" time too so that you come back refreshed and revived.
Remember, if you need help scheduling or managing your marketing or social media needs, then get in touch, we're just a phone call or email away.