One of the greatest benefits of working for yourself is being able to determine your own working hours. Yet, when you do own your own business, the idea of taking any time off suddenly becomes terrifying! How do you stop everything from falling apart when you’re not there to hold it together?
One study found that 76% of small business owners and entrepreneurs have skipped holidays to keep their business running smoothly. With Christmas just around the corner, you may be thinking of doing the same.
We’re here to tell you that all this stress can be prevented. This Christmas, you should be able to enjoy time at home with these helpful tips to get you through.
Stick to a Strict Schedule
A lot of stress around Christmas is down to you fighting to spread your time too thinly. Creating a very detailed schedule can make the whole festive period instantly more manageable.
Whenever making appointments, give yourself an end-time so that you know how much time you have left to spend on other jobs. It’s better to slightly overestimate how long you’ll be because then, if you finish early, you’ve kind of gained more time for your other jobs.
You should also decide early on when you are going to be with family and when you’re not. This should stop you feeling guilty for being away from the shop because you know you’ve allocated time to be there another time.
Good communication makes everything easier, as nobody ends up second guessing what the plan is. Thanks to your new schedule, you should know exactly when you’re going to be in the office over the holidays. You need to pass on that information to your customers so they can organise their orders.
Your clients won’t be put out by the fact that you’re taking time off over Christmas – they probably expect you to – but they will be annoyed if you don’t tell them when you’re taking time off. Send out an email, well ahead of time, letting them know which days you’ll be in and which days you’ll be out.
You should also include this schedule in your ‘out of office’ automated email response and on your voicemail. This helps customers know when they can next try and get in contact with you.
Work in a Cloud Based System
Putting it simply, cloud computing allows you to access documents and software from anywhere in the world where you have an internet connection.
Some businesses are wary of cloud based systems. Why rely on an internet connection when you can have all your important documents filed on your computer’s hard drive?
Keeping everything in one physical location does not offer you the flexibility that a cloud computing system does. With a cloud system, if something serious were to crop up while you’re away, you can simply log in and sort it out.
Plus, research shows that cloud computing can help you out when you’re not even on holiday. Intuit commissioned a study which found that businesses using a cloud computing system saved 7 working weeks of productive time, on average.
Get Your Finances in Order
As your customers take time off themselves to celebrate the season, you’ll likely see a dip in sales at this time of year. Still, if you can see this coming, you can prepare for it.
You have 11 other months in the year to start putting some money away. Saving little amounts over the year should mean you have enough left in December to cover wages, bills, and perhaps some little gifts for your most valued customers.
Use the Time to Your Advantage
Spending time away from work does not mean that your business is just put on hold for a few days. You can take this time and use it to think about where you want your business to be by this point next year.
When you’re busy solving immediate problems, it can be hard to find a moment to properly plan for your business’s future. So, while you’ve got a little more headspace, let your imagination run wild. In what ways could your business grow or diversify over the coming year?
Perhaps you could think about setting up a brand partnership between yourself and a local graphic designer? Or maybe you could start offering a design service yourself? Or, you could simply look into redesigning your shop’s layout for a fresh new look.
We hope that, after reading this advice, you allow yourself some time off this Christmas. Happy Holidays, one and all!