business support

Many of us maybe getting ready to take a winter break to the sunshine and SME’s understand how much planning and preparation it takes to organise time off, especially if you are taking an extended break. So what can you do to ensure you don’t come back to major problems?


Prep your team:

You may think you work alone, but even sole traders have other people in their “team” to consider.


Financial responsibilities:

Overheads do not go away just because you do. If you handle your own banking with the odd meeting with an accountant, it should be relatively simple to schedule all the bills that need paying while you are away. All it takes is money and time.


Clients and customers:

Your clients should not know you are going to be away, now I am not saying you shouldn’t tell them, just that their service should be seamless. Make sure your team is prepped and ready to answer all questions and able to handle the workload while you are away. If you truly are a one person business, then there are a couple of options for you to consider.


  1. Hire a business support service for the duration of your trip. Make sure there is adequate overlap so they can answer your business inquiries as they come in with confidence. The benefits are many and include:


  • Your clients/prospective clients can speak to an actual person and not a machine.
  • No missed calls if your answering machine gets full.
  • Calls are answered as your business name.
  • They can advise when you are back to work
  • If they have calendar access, they can even book appointments in for you.


  1. Be available yourself. You can of course use roaming, but be aware this may be an expensive option. Alternatively make sure you have adequate wi-fi options where you are staying, purchase a SIM card with data for the country you are visiting and / or use Skype.


  1. Set up an email auto-response if you absolutely have to. Your website contact form will already have one set up (it has hasn’t it?), advise the person who has taken the time to contact you that you will respond – and by when. Then ensure you stick to that. Nothing annoys clients and potential clients more than people who fail to follow up.
    A word on one of the most overused but incorrect statements ever created – never open with “Dear Valued Customer” I am going away for a couple of weeks and I’ll be in touch when I get back … be real. You’ve taken time, effort and money to find your clients; the last thing you want to do is annoy them by not being there when they need you. Your holiday can come first, but only after your clients needs are taken care of.


  1. Arrange a posting schedule on Facebook and other social media sites you use to share content while you are away. You should never use social media to sell, sell, sell! There is nothing worse than seeing news feeds full of ads, unless you want to lose customers and followers that is. Share content that says more about their needs than yours and your needs will always be met.


One of the best scheduling tools we’ve found is Hootsuite. There are others of course, so find one and get used to using it before you leave and start scheduling your content. The good news with this kind of tool is that it can save you time in the long run. You simply schedule a block of content and let it run for you. It doesn’t stop you from having to respond to comments, questions and thanking people for responding but that’s the fun part anyway.


  1. Mail redirection or holding your post til you get back. If you don’t have anyone to collect mail for you, it is a good idea to organise the post office to hang onto it for you. Nothing says I’m away more than a letterbox full of stuff.


  1. Family members (including fur babies): Assuming they are not going with you, you may need to make alternative arrangements for those you care for.


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