As soon as one holiday is over, we’re already planning for the next one.
I’m going to do it… I’m going to say the ‘c’ word…
Yes, Christmas is fast approaching!
While the shops are still stocked with witch hats, pumpkins and fireworks; the baubles, liqueur chocolates and tinsel of the festive season are starting to appear on the shelves. I saw mince pies in a bakery last week and bought a cheeky bar of Bailey’s chocolate for my coffee time treats this week.
As we enter the final quarter of the year, we’re already thinking ahead to 2018.
Before it sneaks up on you – and the madness of parties and present buying consumes you – start considering how you can peacefully take some time off and relax while your business is taken care of.
Planning ahead is the key
Now is the time to think about what you want to achieve this quarter and map it out.
For some help with this, take a look at my FREE online ‘Creating a Content Calendar’ workshop. Watch the instructional video, do the activity and then download the spreadsheet template and complete it.
Copywriter, Vladi Nikolov, sent this guest post over for me. In it, he shares some great tips to run your business without having to be physically present.
Over to Vladi…
5 Tips on How Not to Worry About Your Business While Being on Holiday
The summer has just gone but the Christmas period is already fast approaching, as if from nowhere. Chances are that even inveterate workaholics have already planned to go somewhere different from the workplace during the festive period.
Most working people find it hard to relax and not think about work even when they are on holiday. This is double as accurate for those in charge – business owners, or those doing everything themselves – sole traders and freelancers.
At the same time vacations are not to be neglected. They make up the deserved time off for every hard worker and should be used to get some quality rest and recuperate after months of intense working.
In order to make the most of your holiday, here are 5 points you should address before and during your time out.
Let people know that you are off beforehand
When you are about to go on a holiday, let your employees and regular clients know that earlier. The former will need to regroup in your absence and divide tasks among themselves, while the latter have to know of your limited availability in order to plan their own activities accordingly. You do not want to have your relationship with your clients smeared because you have not bothered sending a couple of emails. There is nothing worse than being inexplicably out of reach for regular clients and partners.
You will actually leave good impression with your clients if you inform them that you will be away for a while. This way you will show them that you think of them and your responsibilities towards them. They will understand and respect your decision to take some time off.
Automate your email answering
It is necessary to write an email that will be sent as an automatic reply to the emails you will receive while on holiday. You need to explain the reasons why you will be unlikely to reply to emails in the given time period, and encourage people to contact you again when you have returned.
You have to make sure that your contacts understand that their attempts to reach you have been acknowledged and you will get back to them as soon as possible. Making them wait or follow-up in a convenient time for you does not make it an ideal situation but it is still the preferred option than leaving their emails completely unanswered.
Sign up for a live telephone answering service
Employing virtual operators to take care of your calls while you are away guarantees that your phone lines will be manned at all times. It is out of question that missed calls are to be avoided. A phone call should be treated as a qualified sales lead that cannot be let go so easily. This is why a real human covering your phone and giving a relevant information to the callers is so handy.
Disclaimer: It is a no-brainer but you should not be using your mobile phone for business conversations when you are meant to be having a wholesome rest. It takes away the whole purpose of the vacation if the calls keep coming and cannot leave you at peace.
Schedule your social media posts
The sudden discontinuation of your social media or blogging activity will be looked at as a not particularly pleasant surprise. This is valid especially if you are normally quite active and have already built a loyal following.
You can stay connected to your audiences even from afar. There are plenty of social media management tools, such as Hootsuite, you can use to create your posts. These will go live at the times you have pre-selected so you should not worry about slowing down your social media marketing efforts. Your followers will likely not even suspect that you are having days off.
The only tricky issue is to figure out how you are going to respond to any comments that might be posted under your Facebook posts, tweets or blog articles. If you are working solo, you will need to do it yourself, and rob your holiday of a couple of hours. If you are working in a team, this should not be an issue at all – you can delegate the function to some colleague and nothing will go wrong.
Spend some time working
We had to come to this at last. It is a sweet utopia that when you go on a holiday you can completely switch off and forget about work. This thing never works so you better set a fixed time during the day to get some working done.
It is equally important to practice what you preach, as the saying goes. You need to stick to the plan you have devised on working in definite times during your holiday. It will require some discipline to concentrate on your work in your most productive hours, but then knock the thoughts about business off your head for the rest of the day.
The key thing is not to ruin your vacation by being unable to keep away from work for long. Remember that you are on a holiday to recharge the batteries and fresh your head up, so that when you switch back to full power, you will look at your business from a new perspective, and approach your tasks with a clear head.
With a bit of early preparation, your business will not suffer any damage in your absence, and you should be able to fully enjoy your holiday.
Vladi Nikolov is a copywriter at Liquid 11 – the telecommunications company responsible for the development of the call management system SwitchboardFREE and the telephone answering service Pocket Receptionist. Vladi graduated from the University of East Anglia in 2016, with a degree in Media and Politics.