The advantages of taking a holiday are clear. A rest from the stresses and strains of our working lives can benefit our health and our family relationships.
In addition, time away from work can also give us the space and perspective to focus on new strategies for the future growth of our businesses.
So we should all stop what we are doing now and go book a holiday. Ah, if only life were that simple.
In reality, taking a break is not as easy as it at first sounds - particularly if you are a small business owner or entrepreneur. After all, without you there is no business and you are probably loathe to step away for too long in case the industry and client relationships that you have worked so hard to build disappear.
So, what is the answer? Let's take a look at the following possible options:
Option 1. You never take a break
Option 2. You only take short breaks and hope that your clients don't notice
Option 3. You take a break but bring your business with you
Option 4. You take complete and regular breaks as you know your business is in safe hands
I think that we can all agree to discount the first option. Never taking a break is just no good for anyone. Studies have concluded that the failure to prioritise holiday or leisure time leads to a direct increase in negative emotions, stress and health problems.
Quite simply, your business and family/social life will suffer. In this case it sounds as if your business is controlling you rather than you controlling it. No good can possibly come from this approach.
Option two may well be appealing to some small businesses. However, it could so easily backfire and seriously damage your reputation and relationship with your customers. Once your clients lose trust in you it's extremely difficult to win them back.
It is far better to be honest with the people you are in business with. Of course they won't want to be put out or disadvantaged by the fact that you are going on holiday - but they don't need to be. If you are open and organised, you can take a break and maintain a healthy business with happy customers.
That brings us to option three. You book a holiday and decide to take your business with you.
In this day and age, this option is perfectly possible. Lots of holiday destinations offer free WiFi and that on top of mobile phone technology and cloud-based file sharing can easily mean that many business owners can work anywhere at any time.
Picture this, you have arrived at your holiday destination. The air is warm, there is not a cloud in the wide blue sky and all you can hear is the murmuring of waves moving gently back and forth on the golden beach… oh and what's that noise? You have just received a text message. What could that be about?
No, no it is time to relax. What's that? Oh, the sound of an email coming through… could that be Client A? Or Client B? Can it wait? It might be urgent. Perhaps it can wait.
What is that? It's your mobile phone urgently drawing you back to work. You can't ignore it now - you have to respond. You are no longer relaxed and the peace of your surroundings has been shattered.
This option does not sound like a good approach as, while you are physically away from your place of business, mentally and emotionally you are still very much at work.
This leaves us with our final option. You take a break - actually you take regular breaks - and you relax safe in the knowledge that your business is in safe hands. Immediately this seems like the best option. But is it a pipe dream?
The answer to this question is no. This is very much a reality that can be achieved in your business. Simply follow these three easy steps:
Step One - Delegate
First of all write down the key tasks that need to be completed whenever you go on holiday. Remember, that you will not likely be away for long - you just want to keep things ticking over and, most importantly, keep your customers happy.
You now need to find someone you can trust to delegate this work to. For example, can you develop a relationship with a fellow small business or freelancer to work for you while you are away?
Meanwhile, you need cover for the administrative side of your business. Who will be able to take your calls, manage your emails and social media, open your post, make payments and bank deposits etc?
A virtual assistant (VA) will be able to do all of those things and more. Make contact with a VA in advance of your holiday and make sure you are happy with the service that VA can provide. Perhaps get the VA to complete a simple task for you so that you are happy and confident when the time comes to delegate more.
A virtual assistant can complete many different tasks for you while you are away. You need only tell your VA what tasks you would like completed and they will be done in an extremely effective manner.
To make the hand-over process even smoother, you could consider making some tutorial videos to explain what it is you would like your VA to do.
In addition, you can leave clear instructions regarding when you should be contacted while you are away so that your break is only interrupted in the event of a business emergency.
The added bonus of hiring a virtual assistant is that you do not need to worry about your VA stealing your clients or taking advantage of the fact that you are away and not able to keep an eye on things. A VA is a business owner just like you and can only be successful if he or she can support and sustain your business. Also, your VA is only paid for the work that is done so there is no 'downtime' risk.
When you have hired a VA and delegated your work to them once, there is no limit to how many times you can utilize that VA's services in the future - leaving you free to book many more relaxing breaks.
Step Two - Be Honest
It is important to be open and honest with your clients. No rational person can possibly expect you to work 24/7 all year round. What your client needs is reassurance that the standard of service they will receive will be maintained while you are gone.
It is far better to tell your customer that you are taking a break, inform them of what they need to do and who they can contact during this time and reassure them that their business is still safe with you.
Step Three - Get Booking!
You work hard and you have put long hours into the development of your business. You have made sacrifices. Now you deserve a break. And, when you do book a holiday, you deserve to enjoy it.
Article Source: http://www.abcarticledirectory.com
Jane Douglas-Jones is CEO of VirtuaVA the online business services company that specialises in content creation and marketing.
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