As the owner of a small business, you’ve probably found that you can’t seem to take holidays too often – if at all. Business must go on and you don’t want to spend years building your business up only to have it fall apart while you take a holiday.
However, with the right forward planning, a bit of automation and some trusted staff members, it is entirely possible for you to take a holiday while your company carries on with business as usual.
Automate as much as possible
The best thing you can do to give yourself a break these holidays is to automate as much of your business as possible. By automating things, you not only take the work load off your plate, but you will set your business up to look like there is still a team of staff sitting in the office … even when they are all at the beach!
Social media is a great area to automate over the holiday period. Everyone knows how important social media is for marketing a small business, so taking time off from working on your social media accounts for a few weeks each year isn’t going to work well for you. But if you put aside some time now to spend on scheduling posts in advance, you will get all of the benefit of social media sharing over the holidays without being tied to a desk. Most social media platforms allow you to schedule content so you can set and forget. Once done, posts will be popping up on your customer’s newsfeeds even when you are at your kids Christmas concert or halfway to your Great Aunts house for lunch. All you need to do is check on the comments occasionally in case there are questions or anything that needs moderating.
If you don’t have any new blogs or news to promote over this time, there is nothing wrong with promoting some of the older ones that are still relevant. A cute way to do this is to have a countdown of the top performing blogs or posts from this year to re-share with your followers. Promote a different one each day between Christmas and New Years Eve.
Run on a skeleton staff
If your business is usually quiet over Christmas, you might be in a position to run on just a skeleton staff. That means, keep the staff numbers down to a bare minimum while your regular staff take leave. This means you are encouraging the majority of your staff to take holidays during a time that is quiet, and they will be back and well rested by the time the busy season hits.
If you are a one-man show, look into hiring a Virtual Assistant (VA) who can handle all incoming requests and queries while you are away. By the time you come back, your VA can have all of your new orders and work correspondence lined up and ready to fulfil or get back to.
Bite only what you can chew
Many businesses find this time of year to be the busiest of all – especially if you are selling goods or services that are relevant to Christmas. If this is the case, it can be tempting to try to take on every bit of work that comes your way so you can set yourself up financially for the next year. While this is great in theory, if you aren’t able to successfully juggle the extra workload it can end up backfiring.
You are much better off taking on a few jobs and doing them really well, than pumping out hundreds of jobs but doing them poorly. The reputation of your business is important, and customer’s patience levels are usually rock bottom during this season. By taking on only what you can handle with whatever resources you have, including how many staff are available over the holidays, you will guarantee happy customers that will come back for more.
Take the time to work out; how much work you already have booked, how much work you are expecting will be booked and finally what staff you know will be away or available over the holiday period. This will give you a clear indication of what work you can take on, or at what stage you will need to decline further work or orders coming in.
In any quiet moments in the lead up to the holiday period, see if you can get some work done in advance that will help you out over the Christmas break. The more you can do now, the less you need to do then. Also keep all work to just the essentials for a while. Don’t worry about general housekeeping, you can catch up on that at a time that is traditionally more quiet for your business or when you are fully staffed.
Don’t forget to celebrate
Everyone in your small business has probably put in a lot of effort throughout the year and Christmas is a good chance to thank them for their efforts. Before you set your business to automate and wind down for the year, let your staff know how appreciated they are by having a Christmas celebration together.
If your budget, or numbers of staff, don’t allow for an actual party there are plenty of other ways you can celebrate instead. Have a pot luck lunch in the office, some drinks after work or hand out some gifts or a bonus to show your appreciation.
On a final note, have a safe and Merry Christmas and we hope your 2017 business year is a successful one.