2. Work out what is urgent, what is important and what can wait
When you are planning, use the urgent and important task matrix. If something is urgent and important, prioritise that and work out how you will manage it over the holiday period. If something is important but not urgent, can you dedicate certain times of the holiday period to work on it so it doesn’t lose momentum but frees you up to manage other aspects of the business? If something is unimportant and not urgent ask yourself, does it need to be done at all? If the answer is yes, move it until you are back to 100% capacity and look at it then, if the answer is no, bin it!
3. See who can help you for a short period of time
What support networks do you have that can step in and offer additional help and support if you need it? When I was setting up my business and my business partner went on holiday for a family wedding, my Mum (who is retired) helped me to answer the telephone and did my book keeping. This was support was invaluable, and while it seems like a small thing, the pressure it took off me was immense, it freed me up to run the business and concentrate on the most important thing, my customers. If you do not have a support mechanism, contact your local volunteer centre. They often have volunteers looking for short term placements while they look for paid work.
5. Make use of the free tools that are out there
My other apprentice is studying digital marketing and one of the things that he is really good at is helping to raise our profile on social media. What we realised very early on in the apprenticeship is that to have a presence on social media you have to be active! This does not mean posting on face book once a week, tweeting once a day, posting a blog here and there, it takes time, dedication and a tremendous amount of research to get the messages just right, it really can be very time consuming. When he was going on holiday earlier in the year, this caused quite a dilemma, as a small business myself and my partner did not have the time to do all of the social media but we also recognised that we couldn’t just stop doing it as we were so active on a daily basis. Our apprentice looked into this and came across Hootsuite. This is a fantastic tool for any business owner as it keeps all of your social media in one place, it allows you to ‘bulk upload’ which means you can schedule social media updates for weeks in advance, it also allows you to schedule updates at set times on set days or Hootsuite can auto schedule updates when the social media channel you are uploading to is at its busiest time. We also use a free CRM system so that all of our customer information is in one place, this makes it easier for anyone in the company to speak to customers and know where they are in the buying cycle. I can’t recommend these tools enough.
While you can’t stop your staff taking annual leave, and deep down, I know you wouldn’t want to, I hope that by reading this blog you will be able to manage it better and still run your business!