Many Small Business Owners don’t take enough holidays, or any holidays at all. We all know what its like to run a small business and have so many things to do that a holiday would just cause way too much stress, so its easier to just not go. We never have the time, or the money to do so anyway.
Sound familiar? I was exactly like that, until recently when I decided that I just needed to go, have a break. It had been over 5 years since went on a holiday. I have just come back from a wonderful break and have realised that it really needs to happen more often.
So lets look at what we need to do to get a regular holiday and not be stressed or overwhelmed so much that we choose to not go away or we don’t enjoy our holiday even if we do go.
Schedule it & Book it
The first thing you need to do is schedule your holiday in advance, so like six or twelve months in advance. Then you need to book the accommodation, or air fairs, just book something of the holiday so you don’t back out.
In 2014 I scheduled a holiday for the end of August, put it in my diary and said I will definitely be going away on this week. I didn’t book anything, didn’t do anything about it. Then August came and I decided it was just going to be too hard to book things at the last minute, so I didn’t go.
This year, 2015, I decided I was going to try again and go away in August. I sat down, worked some things out and ended up scheduling it for the end of September, start of October. I then researched accommodation and booked that. This way I knew that I would definitely go, there was no way I was going to waste $825.
You hear people say all the time that you should schedule holidays, I am now a firm believer that it not only has to be scheduled but some part of it booked as well.
Mark it off in your Calendar
Once you have scheduled it and booked a part of it then the next thing you need to do is mark it off in your diary or calendar at work. By marking it off you are less likely to book someone during that time off. It also shows your customers that you are organised.
Imagine what you would look like to a customer if you had to ring them and tell them that you need to change their appointment time because you had forgotten that you were going on holidays. It would make you look unorganised and unprofessional.
If people are ordering things in, then you need to make sure that you advise them that to get it before the time you are away, they need to order by a certain date, or they wont get it until you have got back to work.
If you have staff then you are going to have to create systems and/or checklists so that they are able to do the things that they don’t normally do but that need to be done.
So if you are the one that opens up the office/shop each morning, then you are going to have to create a system and/or a checklist that tells your staff how to do this task. They will then need to run through it a few times with you to make sure they understand what is required of them.
Other essential tasks that may needs systems and/or checklists are:
- How to lock up at night
- How to order stock or supplies
- How to make appointments
- How to do the banking
- How to do the end of day till reconciliations
The best thing to do is to spend some time in the months before you go and go through all the tasks that you do and your staff don’t do and write a procedure around how these tasks are done. Once the procedure and checklists are done train your staff to do them.
If there are some tasks that you do but your staff don’t necessarily have to do while your away then write these done on a separate list for your staff to see that they are irrelevant tasks while you are away and not to worry about doing them.
Get all your Invoicing done
If your business is one where you don’t get paid until the invoices go out then you need to make sure that all invoicing is done before you go. You need that money to keep coming in while you are away, so make sure this is a priority for you.
At the same time do some debt collecting. Don’t leave without contacting everyone that owes you money, it would be awesome to get some of that money in before you go or even while you are away. Be tough with people, you deserve to get paid and don’t let anyone tell you any different.
Pay your Bills
Make sure that you have paid all the bills that are due before you leave or while you are away. The last thing you will like is to return to work from a lovely holiday and have no power or telephone because you forgot to pay the bill.
And if they are all paid before you go then you don’t have to worry about how much you spend while you are away, because you will be coming back to no bills to pay.
Get as much work done as possible
This is a must and I know that sometimes it doesn’t feel like it is worth going on a holiday because of the amount of work you need to get done before you go, but it is worth it.
Imagine if you didn’t finish things that you had promised, or that clients were expecting by a certain time. You are away on holidays and they ring you, email you, text you, wanting their stuff. You, of course can’t give it to them as you are away, this could potentially loose you that clients.
If you are like me and are a bookkeeper, then you need to make sure that all your clients BAS’s are done, bills are paid and invoices are out so that they don’t have any issues while you are away.
Then when you come back you are not as under the pump as you would have been because you got most of the work out of the way before you left.
Put an automatic reply on your emails
Emails are genuinely the main way that people contact us in this day and age and therefore it is really important to put an ‘Out of Office’ auto reply on your emails. This will prevent your clients from getting grumpy with you when you are not replying to them like you normally would.
Clients understand that we all need holidays; they just need to be kept informed that we are not there so they can contact us when we are there.
I would love to hear from you about what you did to make it easier to go on holidays, the last time you went.