As small business owners, our brains are always in business mode. The hardest part of that I find in working with other business owners, is having the ability to switch off over the Christmas break and have a real holiday from your business. I’ve learned a difficult lesson over the years, for me my brain simply wont ever get out of business mode, but I can put steps in place to ensure that doesn’t come with the usual stress.
How To Have A Real Holiday From Your Business
Here are my tried and true steps I take each and every year to ensure I can relax.
The first step is to notify your clients or customers. There are many ways in which this can be done, and email, mail out, text message, phone call. Which way you choose will depend on your small business and how you usually communicate. Either way, in your notification, be sure to include not only the date your business shuts down, but the date you will be returning.
Provide Emergency Contact Details
Again depending on your business model, it may be necessary to provide your clients or customers with emergency contact details. Many builders with active jobs over Christmas, express being hesitant to do so, however in my experience, as long as the emergency details come with a clear understanding of when they should be used, clients are more likely not to use them.
From your clients point of view, you are offering a lot of reassurance if there is someone they can contact during the shut down period. This wont apply to every business though.
Ensure Your Site Is Safe
I cannot count how many nights the Builder and I have sat up all night as a storm rages over wondering if the site will be ok. The last thing you want as a business owner, is to be doing this on your holiday. It’s Summer holidays, storms and theft happen, as do wondering people who shouldn’t be on your building site. Lock up, pop your materials inside a lock building or shed. Remove all temptation and provide both you and your client with piece of mind.
Phone & Email
Change your message bank to ensure that anyone who calls knows you are on holidays. This is also a great way to screen your emergency calls to ensure that you are dealing with a real issue. Let your callers know you are away, and that their message will be answered within 24 hours of your return to work. I like to buy myself an extra day or two, so I have plenty of time to get through all the messages, without feeling to pressured.
Likewise your email should be set up with an auto-responder, to ensure anyone who emails in your break, understands when you are likely to get back to them.
Schedule Your Payments
If you can pay any bills or payments before you head on your break, if your cash flow wont allow that, then simply set up your payments to go out on their due dates. This step will save you a lot of angst on your time off.
This bit is up to you. Recognise that you cannot turn your business voice off, instead acknowledge that you are thinking about something you don’t want to think about in that moment, and let it go. Alternatively I find carry a small notebook and pen to be a helpful way to jot down anything I think I might need to remember and can then let it go.
It’s important at the end of your holiday to take some time for reflection and planing, but now is time for rest. These few tips will help you prepare so you can truly relax.
Are you heading away for Christmas? Got a real break planned?