How to Make the Most Out of Your Holidays as a Small Business Owner


How to Make the Most Out of Your Holidays as a Small Business Owner

As a small business owner, your work never seems to be complete. Generally, entrepreneurs wait for the next perfect moment to relax and take a break. However, going on a vacation is the best way to balance your life.

It is no wonder that some business owners avoid taking vacations altogether because they do not want to deal with the headache and hassle of planning one. But skipping out on vacation time is a bad idea, as it can negatively impact your personal and professional life.

Planning for a vacation is always stressful when you run a small business, since you must plan with family, friends, and colleagues in mind. To prevent any hiccups during your absence, try looking into these tips as a step-by-step guide to ward off urgent business issues and concerns you may encounter.

Leave Time to Plan Ahead
It is easy to get into a frenzy in the days preceding your trip. It is beneficial to start planning slightly ahead of time, to give yourself extra time and space to get things done and make the process less stressful.

Start planning at least two weeks ahead by making a list of everything you need to do before leaving for vacation. You may find that some items on your list can be eliminated or delegated to others, which will lighten your load and give you even more breathing room.

If everyone takes turns going on vacation, everyone benefits. If you can, ask someone else in your company who has experience handling specific tasks (or whose work ethic you trust) if they would be willing to take over while you are away. This preparation can help prevent burnout down the road.

Once you have decided who will cover for you, meet with them several times before leaving so they feel comfortable with what needs doing and can ask any questions that arise along the way.

Take Care of Your To-Do List
Cross things off your to-do list. Finish up work and ensure you do not have any urgent deadlines before leaving. Your to-do list might include getting ahead on projects due the week you return.

Let your peers know where you will be. You will want to communicate with your colleagues, primarily if they oversee paying invoices while you are gone or need to access online banking. That way, they can take care of anything that might come up in your absence.

Notify customers about your out-of-office status. Emailing essential clients and customers is another essential step. That way, clients will know who else at the company they can contact and could even start getting used to working with a different internal contact if necessary.

Confirm with vendors that deliveries are on schedule. Reach out to all your suppliers so they know when you will be away from the office and unavailable through email or phone calls for the next few days or weeks.

Finally, set up your employees to thrive and not just survive while you are away. If someone is filling in for you while you are gone, review what needs to happen throughout the week so they know what to expect before and after your vacation begins.

Tie Up Loose Ends
The last thing you need while basking in the sun is work chaos, so it is critical to tie up loose ends and leave detailed notes for your co-workers before you depart. If a project is nearing completion, finish it before you take off. If there are just beginning projects, leave plenty of information for the person taking over in your absence.

Consider replying to any voicemails or emails during the week leading up to your vacation. You do not want people contacting you while on vacation (that defeats the whole purpose). Instead, send a quick email stating you will be on holiday but will respond once you return. Then, set an automatic response on your email account reflecting the same statement and dates.

Give Customers Plenty of Notice
It is crucial to tell your customers when you will be closed. You do not want them to show up at your door only to find a note reading, “Sorry, we are out of town until next week.”

A few ways you can make this work smoothly include:

  • Posting signs in your store or office
  • Updating your website
  • Letting delivery people know
  • Informing customers via social media

Letting customers know beforehand that you are taking a vacation allows them to plan for any services they will need in your absence and makes things easier for you.

Delegate Your Tasks
Delegation may seem like a no-brainer to many, but it is a crucial step that some people tend to overlook. Delegating effectively and efficiently can take time, but it is well worth the investment.

Suppose you take the time to teach your employees to perform specific tasks. In that case, they become more knowledgeable about their role within the company and have a more in-depth understanding of how their work impacts other aspects of the business.

Plus, delegating tasks frees up your time so you can focus on more significant projects that require your full attention. You can also take time away without worrying about problems back home.

Depending on the type of business you own, there might be times when decisions need to be made right away. Whether a customer is making a purchase, your employees need direction, or something more severe like an emergency arises, you need a trustworthy individual who can respond promptly and efficiently.

Deposit Checks and Pay Bills
Whether you are planning on being away for three days or three weeks, it is essential to make sure all checks are deposited before you leave town. Checks that are not deposited will sit in your mailbox until your return, which can cause cash flow problems for your business.

Managing receivables is crucial for ensuring your cash flows stay steady. If something goes wrong with payments (for example, if a check bounces), you will have time to deal with it before leaving for vacation.

Avoid letting bills pile up while you are on vacation since it will make it more challenging to manage your finances when you return. Ensure all bills are paid before leaving, so there are no surprises waiting for you when you get back to the office.

If your staff needs access to their paychecks over the holidays, run payroll early so the checks arrive on time if the post office is closed for the holidays, or direct deposits can go through if there are no bank holidays involved in your time away from work. Finally, pay all your bills before you go, from your internet bill and credit card statements to rent and payroll taxes.

Have an Emergency Plan
First, you have got to make sure your business can function without you. If you are the only person who can do certain things in your business, you must train someone to cover for you or run the risk of not taking a vacation.

Say a customer suddenly needs something while you are away on vacation. Who is going to help them? In addition, you need an emergency game plan. Ensure that employees know how to handle certain situations and that they have all the necessary information at their fingertips.

Finally, you must leave clear instructions for employees about handling customer service and other issues. You should also set up an out-of-office message on your email, so people know when you will return and who to contact instead.

Teach Employees to Handle Issues
If you have employees, identify those who can resolve problems that may arise in your absence. It is essential to develop trust with your staff so their confidence is high enough to handle potential problems. Thus, be sure to:

  • Identify who can handle issues you may face while on vacation.
  • Train these employees to handle those issues.
  • Even if you do not have any employees, identify someone who can help you handle issues while you are away from your business.

Train employees on basic troubleshooting steps for addressing any issues that may come up in your absence, such as how to deal with angry customers or address a malfunctioning piece of equipment. Create a list of key contacts at each of the businesses and agencies your company deals with.

You could also create a manual (or a set of instructions in Google Docs) that covers what employees need to know and leave it where they can easily access it, like in the cloud. They should be familiar with your business processes and have access to any relevant documents or account logins.

Final Thoughts
If you own a small business, taking a vacation outside of town is likely an exciting prospect. But if you are going away for several days, or even a week or two, taking the proper steps before leaving can make all the difference when you return.

That said, there is nothing like the feeling of having some time off to relax, decompress, and forget about the stress of business. So, try not to fret if you find yourself behind once you get back. Spend your time wisely and enjoy your vacation!

Learn more about streamlining your small business operations while you are on vacation. See all the benefits of NASE membership today on our website.

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