5 Tips to Keep Your Business Flowing During Holidays (or unplanned breaks)
Everytime school holidays roll around I see a flurry of questions about how everyone manages to keep their businesses running. If you don’t have kiddies, like me, you will still love the 5 tips I have for you today to help you manage holiday periods or unplanned breaks.
Small people or no small people… life sometimes gets in the way of business. It has happened to me many times. Illness (both mine and others), moving house, taking a trip overseas, friends coming to stay, or just needing some time away from the grind. Stuff happens, life happens. The benefit of being self employed is that we get guilt free time out … in theory…
Be 100% in or 100% out!
Women’s guilt drives us to feel like we need to be in multiple places at once. The kids are on holidays and want your attention but you also have a business to run. So what do you do? Sit at the computer feeling distracted, guilty and non-productive. You’re not 100% in your business, you’re not 100% with your kids.
You’re feeling sick but you can’t take time off. You sit at your computer and try to cross something off your to do list, but you just can’t focus. You’re not 100% in, you’re not 100% out.
Don’t get stuck in business purgatory
By the end of the day you haven’t really done anything other than check email, post a couple of things to Facebook and Instagram, and re-write your to do list. You could have condensed that into an hour. Instead you’re now riding the wave of guilt that you’re a crappy mum/business owner/friend/sister/daughter…
I was in business purgatory a lot when mum was sick. The day after chemo was rough. I wanted to hang out and just watch t.v with her, make sure she ate when she could, get everything disinfected and cleaned, and basically be present. Instead I would have the guilt of not working looming over my head. I would be up and down from my computer all day, half finishing the cleaning, half finishing a blog post, not accomplishing anything. Ugh.. purgatory..
So how do you keep your business flowing when you’re on holidays or unplanned leave?
My 5 Tips to keeping your business flowing
1) Create a content buffer
Plan your blog posts, social media and newsletters at least 6 weeks in advance. I am a crazy pre-planner and like to have a rough idea of what the next 12 months will look like. I don’t stick to it 100%, but it’s there if I need inspiration. I am never stuck sitting at my computer thinking “I really need to send something to my database… but what?”
Keep yourself 4 – 6 weeks ahead with scheduled blogs that you can also use as a newsletter to your database. It will take a couple of days to get ahead but once you do you will have a safety net, a buffer for times when you’re distracted, on holidays, sick etc..
2) Schedule your social media in advance
Jumping into your social media accounts to post everyday is such a time suck. Instead try using a social media scheduler to pre-plan your posts. If you’re using Facebook you can schedule straight from your page.
Once again you want to keep yourself 4-6 weeks ahead. This doesn’t mean you can’t post “on the fly” content too. You can! It just means that stuff is still being posted even if you’re distracted.
3) Plan your financial buffer
I know how my Profit Lovers squeal with delight when I mention cash flow planning (kidding.. no one squeals with delight). Having financial targets that take into consideration slower sales during holidays will help you create a financial buffer. I know that January will be really slow for me. I started planning for it last November (yes, LAST November). I create a buffer to ensure I don’t run out of funds.
When you plan ahead you can spread an income buffer over several months. If you know kiddies are on school holidays during September you can bump up your sales targets in July and August to cover the slower month. You will push that bit harder before the holidays, but you need to have a target! You need to know what you’re working towards.
Know how much moolah you will need.
Knowing exactly what it costs to run your business each month will ease your mind if you need to bail on your business for an emergency or unscheduled break. I know the minimum dollar amount I need. If I had to take a month off tomorrow I could figure out what the financial effect would be in less than 10 minutes.
4) Remove all non-vital tasks from your to do list/Perfect Week Schedule
There will still be some stuff you will most likely need to keep up with. Tasks like customer service, stock control, invoicing and paying bills need to happen. Instead of having a to do list full of stuff like:
- Update font on sales page
- Take new flat lay photos for Instagram
- Call accountant to discuss new car purchase
- Record video for website…
Have a “holiday Perfect Week Schedule” that condenses everything down to a minimum. Do only the stuff that absolutely must get done, be brutal! Now is NOT the time for trying out Facebook ads re-jigging your sales emails or creating new products.
*Members Club – You will find the Perfect Week Schedule exercise in The Productivity Kit!
5) Give yourself a break, you’re not an employee
I need to write an entire blog post on how women behave like employees in their own businesses (I literally just added that to my blog topics list) but for now I want to leave you with this..
You’re the boss. Embrace it.
If you want to be with your kids then get your vital-stuff-only to do list done, set a timer each day and focus. Once you’re done be done! Log off and enjoy guilt free time. Checking email once per day is plenty, set up an autoresponder to let customers/clients know you’re working limited hours and checking email once in the morning if you want. Set up a recorded message on your phone advising of the same.
Sitting at your desk feeling guilty and achieving nothing is pointless and soul-crushing. Get out and have some fun!
p.s Have I told you lately how amazing I think you are?