Often, for business owners, going on vacation generates more stress than excitement. You might feel that, without you, your business can’t run and you might feel anxious about leaving your team alone.
Well, in this article we are sharing with you easy tips on how to run your business while on vacation or during the holiday season. In order to turn the dream of napping under the palm trees into a reality, you will have to prepare for your absence from the office. In this case, the key points are organization and preparation.
In this lesson, we’ll look at managing your phone calls whilst your away, dealing with your emails and mapping out easy-to-follow systems for your staff to follow.
How to Run Your Business Whilst on Vacation: Managing your Phone Calls
If you have a business where phone calls are important in order to make sales, like most cleaning businesses, you need to make sure the phone is still being answered whilst you are away. Here’s how you can:
Use a Telephone Answering Company
If you feel the need to totally unplug from work, you can hire a telephone answering company. The benefits of these companies are that they are highly trained in converting sales. That means they know exactly what to say, so you won’t miss those all-important sales.
Use a VoIP Phone
If you are planning on responding to your calls yourself, we suggest you use a VoIP phone. VoIP is a service that allows you to make free, or very low cost, telephone calls over the Internet. You can call any telephone in the world and any telephone can call you, regardless of what equipment or network the person you are calling uses. It also allows you to keep your business telephone number, that way you can easily keep in touch with your customers while you are away. If you are interested in the VoIP service we recommend to choose one recording calls. That way you will be able to remember important information without having to take notes from the beach.
Train your team or a friend to help out.
If your plan is to train your team members or even a friend to respond to your calls, make sure before leaving you start thinking about what kind of questions your customers are asking you. Write the perfect answers down in an easy to follow script. That way, your team members or friend will have a ‘manual for answering your phone’ helping the phone calls sustain your amazing customer service without you.
Be on stand-by.
To finish with, make sure you bring with you an extra battery charger, that way you will be able to take pictures during your holidays, but you will also be reachable in case of an emergency.
How to manage your emails whilst you are away.
Schedule emails ahead of time.
If you are using Gmail, we highly recommend Boomerang. This tool allows you to schedule emails to send at a later date. This could become handy to stagger replies before you leave so that you’re inbox is not too full on return. In this case, write them before going on holidays and schedule them.
Set up an autoresponder.
Another tip for emails is to make sure you set up an autoresponder to anyone that emails you to let they know that you are in holiday, when you are coming back and instructions if something is urgent. The autoresponder can also direct your customer to the person to contact if you are unavailable.
Develop effective systems for your staff.
Document your processes.
We discussed guidebooks in a previous lesson. Make sure that these are correct and have been shared with your team before leaving. Additionally, we suggest that you also prepare notes explaining every task that you and only you have the knowledge of, in case someone needs to step into your role whilst you’re away. That way, your holiday should go uninterrupted – bliss!
Share your passwords…securely.
Another handy software to use is LastPass. It allows you to save all the passwords you use within your business and share them with your team members. The passwords are encrypted, so your team members won’t see what the password is, keeping your privacy secure, but it allows them to use the password without actually seeing the details. You can also use this with credit and debits cards or Paypal if employees need to buy anything on your behalf. This means that you can revoke access on return and feel safe in the knowledge that no one can access the details anymore.
Some final tips…
Be brave – delegate!
Even if you prefer to manage your tasks on your own, it is important to delegate tasks that you will not be able to complete before going on vacation and that may need to be completed during your absence. So, don’t be afraid to delegate! People in your team may even be excited by the idea of new responsibilities and experiences.
Tell your customers that you are going away.
It is also important to make sure all your customers know in advance that you are going to be away and when you are coming back. Share it on social media, individually call or email them. That way they will have enough time to ask all the questions they need to ask you, meaning you can go on vacation with total peace of mind.