Tuesday, March 11th, 2014
by Sherry Castaldi
As a self-employed small business owner, you are your business. Without employees, staff or team members to assist you, just the thought of taking time off for a vacation may send you into a panic attack. How can I go away? Will potential customers fall through the cracks?
Sound familiar? I know firsthand this can be a struggle, but as with many things in life, preparation is key.
It’s important to remind ourselves that customers and clients take vacations too. Your regular clients will wish you a wonderful vacation and look forward to seeing you upon your return. However new potential customers contacting you for the first time have no idea of your vacation plans and you do need to acknowledge their communication because ignoring any form of contact is not good business.
Managing business communication throughout every day will not make for an enjoyable vacation. Decide in advance how you want to handle the following correspondence duties while you are away.
Have your mail held if it comes to an address (like your home) where it could be left unattended for the duration of your trip. If this includes going to the Post Office to a hold mail form, allow yourself time to do so.
You need to decide how you want to handle your phone(s). Do you operate with only your cell phone as your business phone? That doesn’t allow you much of a break from calls. It may be time for a separate business line if you don’t have one yet.
If you have an additional office line, you need to decide how you wish to handle the phones. do you want to be responsible for checking in to your office phone for messages? Do you want to have all calls forward to your cell phone so you don’t miss a potentially important call? Or do you want someonw else to handle these calls and only notify you for the most pressing matters?
Will you be checking your business e-mail yourself or will you have someone be doing this for you?
If you’ve been working on building a presence with consistency, this may not be the time to go MIA for a week or two. Would it make sense if the business aspect of social media was managed for you?
In the early years of your business, it seems relatively easy to take a vacation as your business is so new that you are easily able to handle the few phone calls or e-mails that come in. However as time progresses along with your business, you may realize it’s time to enlist additional help. Consider what you need help with, what you dislike doing and what will bring you a quality of service for your business and your life. Maybe you are ready for additional weekly help or maybe you just need help for those times when you are out of town. Either way, putting a plan in place in advance is a worthwhile investment for you and your business.
Vacations allow you precious, quality time with your family and loved ones. Taking time to disconnect from your business and truly relax is what taking a vacation is all about. You’ll return to work rested and ready to do the work you love. Prepare for the time you are away in advance and you’ll actually enjoy your vacation knowing your business is covered!
Home Staging, Home Makeovers and Home Organizing for Chester County, PA, including the towns of Chadds Ford, PA, Chester Springs, PA, Downingtown, PA, Exton, PA, Malvern, PA, Phoenixville, PA, West Chester, PA. Also serving the Main Line towns of Paoli, PA, Berwyn, PA, Devon, PA, Wayne, PA, Radnor, PA, Villanova, PA, Bryn Mawr, PA, and Ardmore, PA, into the Philadelphia area.