Christmas is right around the corner, and businesses are beginning to wind down for the holiday season. For many of us, this signals that a well-deserved rest is fast on its way. Although, if you are a business owner, this time can be far from relaxing. There’s a high chance you are contemplating if you should keep the business up and running over the break. You might be worried that you’ll miss out on opportunities for sales, or perhaps you’re worried you’ll be dragging over unfinished work from this quarter well into the new year. Whatever the case, rest assured, there are in fact ways that you can guarantee that your business will be running smoothly whilst you’re gone, and be ready for you when you get back. Stepping away from your business is possible and isn’t nearly as daunting as it sounds. Keep reading to see what you can do to keep your business afloat during this holiday period.
- Plan early
The minute you are aware of the time you’ll be taking off, write out your plan of action. Take care of the basics, such as letting clients know the amended office hours. Whether it be in a newsletter, companywide email or even whilst speaking with clients over the coming weeks, make it known when you intend to switch off. Keep in mind to be extra clear with your clients, and ensure they are doing the same, that way there is no confusion or delays on either end when it comes to wrapping things up before you leave. Keep in mind as well that larger company’s may have several departments that all finish up at different times, as this could affect the way you plan your pending tasks. Make sure you’ve cleaned your plate of work as best as you can to ensure that you can walk out that door confident that you haven’t left any tasks untouched.
If there are tasks that you know would benefit from having a head start, dedicate some time to them before the new year so you’ve already got the ball rolling when you come back. This will also aid in your transition back to work, and keep you from having to deal with an enormous pile of work that is yet to be looked at, after what was supposed to be a relaxing time off.
- Leave a point of contact
If you do intend to have the company operate in your absence, find a replacement for yourself for that week. Ensure that they are confident making decisions in your absence, otherwise you will become bogged down with their questions and deliberations throughout the holiday break. If it isn’t a possibility for you to find a replacement for yourself, you may want to consider finding replacements for certain key staff members, so you aren’t tackling everything on your own.
If you intend to keep the company up and running from a distance, at minimum you need to be providing a point of contact that is regularly monitored and easily accessible to you. Ensure you are adding this point of contact to any newsletter or auto-email messages you will be sending out, so that those who need immediate help can get it. If you have several departments, be sure to leave as many contact points as possible so that the appropriate people can help your clients. It also saves you having to delegate as many tasks when you get back.
- Schedule marketing & content
Make time in your busy schedule before the break to get all your marketing and content scheduled in your absence, so that things can go live whilst you are out.
Thanks to modern marketing tools, no one even has to know that you’re not working. Go ahead and plan your social media posts, content, and newsletters in advance so that you can keep your clients updated whilst you are away. It is also great as they act as reminders to your clients over the break, allowing their inquiries, questions etc. to continue to come through, as well as allowing clients to maintain interest in your brand.
- Ensure you aren’t leaving any loose ends
This one may seem the most obvious, but it can easily get out of hand if you don’t remind yourself daily to keep on top of things. Perhaps you have bills due when you’ve scheduled your break? Meetings with clients that you’ve scheduled weeks ago, that you now can’t attend? Make sure that everything is tied up and dealt with so that you aren’t a) creating more work for yourself in the future, and b) disappointing clients and colleagues at an already stressful and hectic time in the year.
The more details you pay attention to now, and the more late nights you suffer through, the more time you’ll have to enjoy that break and use it to rest up for the next year.
- Accept what you can’t control, and relax
As much as this time of year can make it seem like we’re all running out of time, and that you need to put more energy into the business now than ever before, you still only have as much control over your business now as you’ve always had. Meaning, that any additional time spent stressing over your company is wasted. Despite all the technical aspects of stepping away from the business, the physical act of doing so is often the hardest for a business owner.
Your business will not fall apart without you there, and whatever happens your business can handle it. If you’ve informed clients that you’ll be out, and you’ve done your part in clearing your workload before your break, you can relax and enjoy the time you’ve taken off.
It’s a given that many others around you are taking the same break at this time of the year, so rest assured there will be no immediate crises whilst you are out. Do your best to end this year right and 2017 will reward you for it.