5 Things to do before Vacation as a Small Business Owner
If you own a small business, you know that vacations mean more than just booking a place to stay, transportation, and activities. You have so many things to do beforehand to ensure you can truly BE on vacation once you are there!
Preparing in advance can save you so much stress and headache. It’s an active role you must play in preparing to be absent -- especially if you are the only person responsible for the day-to-day tasks in your small business.
Budgeting is ALWAYS where you start.
You need to determine how much income you’ll miss from not working while you are on your vacation.
If you are like me, then most of your vacations are planned well in advance -- because, well, budget. Planning in advance easily helps determine how many extra jobs or projects over the 4-6 months before your vacation you might need to make-up in missed income.
This may mean you have to work the occasional night or weekend. For me it’s easier to take on additional photo sessions in the months before my vacation because I KNOW the pressure it takes off once I’m actually on my vacation. That way I can relax without the worry of feeling I have to “make up” the income after vacation. That’s no fun and I have no desire to be on vacation and feel that way.
Notify Your Clients in Advance
You need to notify your clients as far in advance as you can. This may also help gain more income since they’ll know they have to go ahead and book your services or buy your product before you’ll be closed.
I love to put an auto reply on my email at least one month before I’ll be gone. I typically don’t do this if I’m just going to be gone for a long weekend. However, if I’ll be gone for a week or longer it’s necessary to let my clients know ahead of time to be prepared to get things wrapped up before I leave.
Remember you don’t have to put your actual vacation dates on this auto reply. You’ll pad it with time before/after (see next tip).
Give Yourself Time Before/After Your Vacation
You should absolutely block off your calendar to avoid having any appointments the day before you leave for vacation.
For myself, I block off five days before. That’s because I have learned there are ALWAYS things that pop up at the last minute no matter how thoroughly I plan. I used to book as many appointments as I could the days before I left and that left me feeling SO stressed.
And on your return do not book any appointments for AT LEAST the first day back You’ll need that day to catch up on all admin related items.
I know it is hard to think of adding two more days of no appointments before and after your vacation but trust me! If you don't allow any breathing room you'll likely feel stressed on your vacation and that's not what we want!
Set Your Out of Office Reply
DO NOT say you’ll be checking email or returning phone calls daily while on vacation.
Give yourself a break while on vacation!
Set the expectations in your out of office reply. This is what mine typically says:
Thank you for your interest in our photo session offerings!
Our studio will be closed May 20 - June 3 with very limited email access.
We will return to the office and begin responding to all emails on June 4. Please click here to schedule a consultation to begin planning your next photo session with us!
Have a great week!
Schedule Social Media Posts
If you REALLY want to enjoy your vacation, then please do me -- and yourself -- a favor and just try scheduling your social media before you go.
Take an hour and sign up for one of the many options that will do this for you and schedule out your posts for the entire time you’ll be away.
I use Later and it’s super easy (Sign up with this link and you’ll get an additional 10 free posts each month! They have a free version that includes limited posts each month.) You can schedule the date, time, add your captions, and your hashtags.
Unfortunately, if you allow your social media to take a break during your vacation, you will likely feel the effects of lower reach later. Keep it active by scheduling it before you leave and then just forget about it until you get back from vacation!
Enjoy Your Vacation
Being on top of handling these tasks before you travel will truly alleviate any unnecessary stress while vacationing. By allowing yourself to prep ahead of time, you are taking control of your vacation experience. You’ll be able to relax more knowing these things are handled and your clients have a clear picture of what to expect!