Holiday Time: Don’t Stress It, Automate It!

With travel restrictions now lifted and holidays back on the agenda after two years of staying at home, what should be a time of merriment spent with the family can prove to be incredibly stressful for some business owners.

Research by OnDeck revealed that only 57% of small business owners take a summer holiday. If you’re one of the 57% let’s make 2022 the year that you get to spend quality family time away from the business whilst on holiday.

Primarily, don’t leave it until your last day in the office to put the steps in place to keep your business running as you jet off. Preparation is key.

Make a list of the main tasks that are likely to see you dragging your laptop to the beach or missing a holiday altogether. The obvious ones are:

·         Incoming phone calls

·         Incoming emails

·         Keeping your sales pipeline flowing

·         Social media posting

With proper forward planning, all of these can be either outsourced or automated.

Incoming Phone Calls

Don’t be that person on the beach whose phone keeps ringing every ten minutes. Not only will it severely impact on your down-time, but your fellow beachgoers won’t thank you for interrupting their holiday either. And depending on where in the world you are, it could prove expensive for you and your clients with overseas roaming charges.

There are plenty of excellent call-handling businesses and virtual assistants, who, if briefed comprehensively on your fundamental areas of operation, can field your calls. The benefit of this is that they can sift out the timewasters and answer the basic enquiries on your behalf. If letting go 100% really brings you out in a cold sweat, ask them to email you – perhaps once a day – a summary of calls you need to deal with.

If you’re comfortable with your clients knowing that you’re on holiday, you can change the voicemail greeting on your phone, directing them to the call-handling business to take the details.

Take a look at our client, I’m Your PA. They are professional call-handlers, and we’d recommend them to anybody in a heartbeat.

Incoming Emails

Admittedly, this one may take some self-control but yes, it is manageable. The simplest course of action is to make sure you put your Out Of Office on before you go away. Be sure to include:

·        Your return date. There’s nothing more frustrating than an Out Of Office that just says, “I’m out of the office.”

·        Direct the sender to your call-handling company if they feel it’s an urgent matter. Chances are that the majority of emails can wait until you return.

·        If you are planning on checking and responding to emails, make it clear that you’re only doing this once a day and you’ll respond when time permits. If your clients value you, they’ll respect the fact that you’re on holiday.

It’s also a good idea to have the conversation with your family/travel companions that you will be checking emails and calls once a day. Agree on the best time of day to do this and stick to it. That way, there’ll be no family arguments, you can relax and enjoy your holiday.

Sales Pipeline

Used properly, a well set-up lead magnet can keep newbies flowing into your sales pipeline whether you’re in the office or laying on a beach – but it can take some planning.

Firstly, you’ll need a lead magnet. A piece of marketing collateral that people are going to want to get their hands on. The idea of a lead magnet is that your prospects will sign up to receive your ‘freebie.’ Once you’ve got their data, they’re in your pipeline and they automatically get sent the first in a series of helpful freebies, designed to add value to their business.

Lead magnets are an excellent way to warm-up new prospects before you pick up the phone and call them, so why not put one in place to do the sales role whilst you’re away.

Lead magnets/sales pipeline email automation can be set up on a number of platforms. As a starting point, take a look at MailerLite and Mailchimp.

Social Media Posts

There’s no need to disappear from social media when you’re on holiday. With so many different scheduling tools available, your social media can be pre-planned and scheduled to run in your absence.

Users of Facebook Pages and Instagram for Business can schedule to both platforms using Facebook’s own Creator Studio. It’s free to use, and is an effortless way to stack up your posts without using a third-party app.

For Twitter, LinkedIn, and LinkedIn Pages, take a look at SocialBee, Buffer, Hootsuite, or any of the other scheduling apps available. The free versions will suit the majority of businesses, assuming you only have one social feed from each platform.

Top Tip: search for “free Hootsuite/Buffer” etc as search engines will automatically direct you to the paid versions.

Again, plan your social media posts in advance, giving yourself time to get to grips with the scheduling tools. If you need some basic training, just ask we’ll put you in touch with someone in our golden circle who will be able to help you.

Hopefully, you now feel a little more comfortable with the idea of taking an annual holiday. So, get prepping, get packing, and don’t forget to send us a postcard when you get there!  You know we love hardcopy mail 🙂

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