So you have a small business? So you've just booked a buzzing holiday? But now what? How do you keep your lil business ticking along whilst you're gone?
I've been running my business for 2 years this August and since then I've been on 2 summer holidays and a bunch of mini breaks so I've learnt a thing or two about the best way to put your livlihood on holiday mode and fully switch off from your biz.
1. Decide the best method for the length of time you're away.
If you're only away for a few days or over a long weekend then chances are you can get away with not doing anything really. If you're not likely to be posting products or orders out until Monday morning anyway and you go away on Thursday night then no worries. But if you're away for a week or a fortnight or whatever it may be then it's best to let everyone know you're off and shut up shop.
2. Holiday mode.
If you sell on sites like Etsy there is a designated 'Holiday Mode' application that puts your shop on pause for you. It let's people know you're away and when they expect your shop to be back, it means people can't order but drops them a line to say when they can purchase from you again. If you host your own shop and you don't have this luxury then put notices EVERYWHERE saying how long you'll be offline for and when orders will be shipped. Set automated emails when so that when someone buys from you something pops up to say how long they'll have to wait and they can choose to cancel their purchase. If you have the option to shut down the part of your site that takes orders then even better.
3. Put your out of office on.
Set up your emails and communication channels to send an automatic reply with something along the lines of 'I'm away until XYZ date and won't be sipping orders or replying to emails until XYZ date - in the meantime feel free to XYZ'. You always want an alternative for them or a way to keep them interested in you.
4. Schedule schedule schedule.
You don't want your audience to loose interest in you when you're away so make sure you schedule Instagrams, Facebook posts or tweets to promote yourself when you're gone. Organise yourself, get it done in advance before you go and make it exciting so people want to get back to business with you when you return.
Take some time in the week before the holiday to send an email to all your clients or people you're working with at the moment. Let them know how far you are in their project and make them aware you're going away and when you'll be back and when they can get in touch again. If you have deadlines make sure you've met them and make sure your clients know the score - they appreciate being kept in the loop and will not be amused by an out of office email when they next try and get in touch.
Switching off from work is hard at the best of times but when it's your home life too and at the tip of your fingers on your phone it's tempting to check in. Best advice would be delete your email apps and all things connecting you to your business for the time you're away so you aren't tempted to check in. You need time to relax and have a day off and you'll come back feeling a million times more productive and on it.
7. Entice your customers back.
There is nothing that gives you the fear more than the idea your business might not be there when you come back. You can entice your customers back to you in a variety of ways but let them know you're back in business. Schedule some promos to say you've returned, host a giveaway with a pressie you bought on your travels, send out newsletters to your mailing list with a promo code, hold a sale...whatever it is make your business seem like the best thing since sliced bread.
8. Be organised on your return.
It's tempting to extend your holiday when you finally get home, to take a few days to get back to grips with home life, do all that unpacking, tackle the 10 loads of holiday laundry. But hitting the ground running is as important as being organised before you leave. If you promised a certain day you'd be posting orders again make sure you post on that day. If you said you'd be emailing clients on a specific day make sure you email. Be organised, get on it and look at your holiday snaps when you've got alllll your work done and dusted.
Happy holidays ya'll!
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