There are many great benefits of owning your own small business. However, holiday time is usually not one of them.
When you’re the one responsible for making sure emails are answered, deadlines are met, and complaints are dealt with swiftly, it doesn’t leave much time for heading away for a full weekend, let alone a real break. This work-life balance is often a struggle for SME owners all over the world.
However, the importance of work-life balance remains, especially when you’re so immersed in the business. Here’s how you can still take a holiday and actually relax knowing your baby will be fine.
Plan far, far ahead.
Your clients, suppliers, and other interested parties don’t expect you to work 365 days of the year. They will be perfectly fine with a break from usual proceedings – provided you give them as much warning as possible.
This will let them make their own plans, such as ordering ahead, or finding an alternate supplier for that time, or simply working with the plan you set in place to tide them over.
Book your holiday during your quiet time.
Most businesses experience peaks and troughs throughout the year. Pick one of your slow times to take a break. This reduces the pressure of getting ahead before you leave, or catching up when you get back.
Train your employees throughout the year.
Even if you’re not currently planning a holiday, start to make a habit of training your employees on tasks throughout the year that you usually take care of. This way, when you do go away, they’ll already have some experience in looking after the basic aspects of your role to ensure the company keeps ticking.
Plan for business check-in times.
Realistically, you know you probably won’t be able to help yourself from checking your emails while you’re away. Instead of feeling guilty and fretting over it, plan short, set times to check emails and deal with urgent requests only. For example, you could set aside 45 minutes every other morning to check on the business and delegate vital tasks, then close the tab and get back to enjoying your break without the guilt. (If you’re going to do this, check that your destination’s wifi is up to scratch.)
Update your email, website, and social media channels.
Perhaps you’ve already informed current clients about your break, but it’s important to make this message clear for new customers and others. Add an auto-reply to your email about your break and when you’ll be back, as well as contact information for a staff member for urgent inquiries. Also if business will be running differently while you’re away, make a note on your website and social media channels to ensure that nobody misses the message and everybody knows when you’ll be back, refreshed and ready to work.
Hire a contractor or temp worker.
If your team doesn’t have the manpower or the skills to cover your position, consider hiring a contractor or temp worker who does – or who can be trained up to complete the basics in your stead.
Do a mini trial run.
Tell your staff you’re going out of town for a short period (it could be a few days or even just a few hours during a peak time) and then sit back and see how things run. If it’s all good, you know you’re on track to leaving for a longer stint. If there are some problems, don’t worry – it’s great they’ve been detected and you now know what areas to work on before going away.
Need more advice on time management or work-life balance strategies? The Yellow Business Hub is packed with helpful tips and articles for small businesses across Australia.