Archive for October, 2009

Planning to leave your biz for a trip or vacation?

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009 | Implementation planning, Small Business Management with No Comments »

As you know I’ve been taking quite a bit of time away from my business office this month.  I was on vacation the first week of the month and today, I leave to attend Marketing to Millionaires.

It is kind of uncomfortable to take that much time away.  Just like so many solopreneurs, I wonder what my team will do if something they’ve never tackled before comes up.  I worry that I forgot to give them something.  This is all par for the course before I leave, but I DO leave and I DO forget about what’s going on while I’m away.  I have to trust that my team can handle whatever comes in while I’m away.  Otherwise, I’d never enjoy it!

That doesn’t mean that I just throw my hands up in the air and say “I’m outta here!”.  In order to ease my mind as much as I can, I have a lot to do in preparation for leaving.  I spent the majority of last month preparing to be out of the office all but 6 business days in October.  So, I know what it takes to get there.  I’m hoping it will help you as well.  So, I thought I’d share with you my vacation preparation strategies.

1)  Do your writing and marketing in advance - Okay, I’m going to admit that I wrote this newsletter in the middle of September (but I did reread it before it went out and edited just a little bit).  This keeps my marketing going even though I have no time to do it this month.  I always tell my clients that consistency is the key to successful marketing.  So, writing out your marketing in advance and scheduling it to go out while you’re gone can keep that consistency for you.

If you have someone helping you with your marketing, make sure you get it to them early and let them know it’s coming early.  That way they know it’s supposed to wait until the time you are away and it’s not in addition to your usual marketing.

If you don’t write it out in advance, at least let peopel know what’s up. As you see, my previous post  on this blog tells you that I may or may not be posting for the month.  It’s kind of a heads up.  That lets people know where you are, so they don’t wonder and leave really quick.

2) Have a team member in place - My Project Manager, Carrie, works very closely with me on a regular basis.  She knows what needs to get done when it comes to helping my clients with their work.  My clients are already familiar with her and have had communication with her fairly regularly.  This  makes Carrie the obvious choice to take over in my absence.

Now, as a coach, I understand you may not have someone like this in place.  I think it’s important to have someone who can handle your administrative duties though.  Someone who schedules appointments, handles follow-up with potential clients when they need more information and can handle the intake process for you once a client decides to work with you.  This team member will have already had a connection with your clients.  So when you are away, they can easily answer e-mails or phone calls as they come in for you.

3)  Schedule a meeting with your helper - Whoever you decide to have help you, make sure you speak to them before you leave.  Cover all the reasons someone would contact you and give them a process for responding.  Give them all the resources they would need to get someone started working with you, in case someone wants to move forward.  Give them any numbers for people that help you with your business in case they need it.  Give them permission to use their best judgment and allow them to make decisions if necessary.  This way you don’t come back to a line of people waiting to hear from you.  Some of them can be taken care of and on their way.

4)  Technology and e-mail - Give your helper access to the back side of your e-mail.  Either through the cpanel or a login to webmail.  Allow your helper to delete junk mail in that back end.  Give them permission to delete newsletters, advertisements, and announcements from online communities etc….  That way it never touches your inbox.  That way you come back ONLY to e-mails that are important.  This will keep you from inbox overload. You will quickly be able to jump back in and respond to people in the first day.

5)  Plan some time to get back in the groove - When you go away, you need to give yourself some time to catch up once you return.  I’m going to be away for most of October, so I’m taking the week after I return to catch up.  I have no calls scheduled.  I made sure I didn’t promise anyone I’d get them something that week.  I have absolutely nothing going on that week by design.  This will not only allow me to get caught up, but it also gives me time to start implementing all that I learn from the event I’m attending.  So, think about what you will want and need to do once you return and schedule accordingly.  Don’t get back and jump right in or you’ll be in overload so fast your head will spin.

I do these 5 things every time I step away from my business.  I have saved myself a lot of headaches by doing so.  When I come back, I know that I will be able to handle catching up.  While I’m away, I know my business is in good hands and that things are getting done.  This helps me get over any doubts I have about whether I can take time away from my business.  I hope it will also help you.

Are there other preparations you make?  What helps you know you can safely step away from your business?  What challenges do you have?