Whilst the long school holidays and warm weather are wonderful, they can create some challenges for small business owners. Staff will want to take holiday. You want to take holiday. But the work doesn’t take holidays. Juggling the needs of family and business can be more difficult than usual, but there are ways to make it work.
“I can’t take a holiday. It just isn’t possible,” cried the small business owner.
Wrong answer. You can’t come up with new ideas, innovative marketing or fresh goals to drive your business forward if you are exhausted. Small business owners tend to work considerably longer hours than the average employee and have a huge level of responsibility. Working extremely long hours over a sustained period can result in reduced productivity, ill health, strained family relationships and burnout. Taking a holiday is an investment in both you and your business. You will return from even a short break, reinvigorated, rested, and ready to hit the ground running.
To keep your business running smoothly whilst you are away, consider the following:
Let clients know ahead of time so that their expectations are managed.
Get your work as up to date as possible before you go. Hand anything that must be completed during your absence to a trusted staff member, or your Virtual Assistant. Or, if you are the only person who can complete the task, renegotiate the deadline with the client.
If you have staff, ensure they are clear on what work needs to be completed in your absence and what the deadlines are.
Have a digital holiday. Don’t check your phone and email constantly. Plan to check once a day at a set time. The evening is often a good time. If you have left staff running the business, let them know when you will be checking in, but tell them to contact you only in an emergency.
Plan Ahead and Work Around
If you can, plan ahead and get as much work done as possible ahead of the holiday period. This allows you to relax during your time off, knowing work is under control. It is a good idea to leave some gaps in the work diary to slot new work and incoming tasks into so you accommodate work without feeling overwhelmed.
Scheduling your social media in advance is a great time saver, ensuring you have an online presence even when you are on holiday. If you blog or Vlog, perhaps create a couple of extra posts prior to the summer period. If you don’t have time to create new content over the holiday period, you can use one you have in reserve. Other options include asking someone to guest blog during the holiday season and asking your Virtual Assistant to research and write posts for you.
Plan your diary well ahead and block out time for both business and family. Having a plan allows you to feel confident that you will be able to juggle it all successfully. Putting family time in the diary as though it was a business event makes sure it happens.
Book meetings and appointments well in advance. Others will be trying to juggle priorities too and may have limited diary slots available as a result.
Having a plan and knowing when things are going to happen can reduce stress and overwhelm.
You could consider a more flexible working pattern on the days you plan to both work and spend time with family. Everyone is different but one option is working early and late, leaving the middle of the day to spend with family.
If you have staff, you could increase the amount of work you delegate during the summer. Allowing team members to widen their knowledge of the business will make future delegation easier.
If your staff are taking holiday you may need to hire in holiday cover to ensure work continues in their absence. Local recruitment companies can provide staffing or you can use a freelance with expertise in the area you need to cover.
If you can’t get everything done in your small business using the Plan Ahead, Work Around Method, another option to consider is outsourcing some of the routine admin work to a freelance administrator so that you can spend more of your time on revenue building activities. Whether you need someone to schedule your social media, update your CRM, or keep on top of the emails, a freelance administrator can take the strain over the summer and is particularly appropriate if you do not have premises as they can work on your tasks from their own home.
If you would like to discuss outsourcing admin tasks so you can spend more time with family this summer, or you are a local business needing on-site admin support, then please get in touch.