You deserve a break at Christmas but how can you ensure your business doesn't miss out on sales while you're away? Rory Whelan, voice marketing manager at eReceptionist, offers advice.
Your business is important so you'll never want to miss a customer call but at the same time we all need to take a break over the festive period.
Research shows that entrepreneurs feel refreshed and renewed after a holiday but if your small business is like most, then customers and vendors will often call you directly, tying you to the company 24/7. So how can you take a break without damaging your business?
1. Plan ahead
As with everything in business, one of the most important things you can do is plan your schedule. Make sure you plan:
- If you need to be on call, when will you be available?
- Is a festive break optimal in your business cycle? If you are a publican or a toy shop owner, then probably not
- Will your orders be fulfilled on time and what are the chances of a late order?
- What can you do with your business calls?
2. Stop worrying about your business
Many business owners experience 'separation anxiety' from their company when taking a break. Psychologists recommend setting aside a certain amount of time each day to check emails as it keeps you attached. Build this time into your itinerary for the day and make sure it fits in with what you plan to do to ensure you enjoy that break:
- When do you plan to carry out activities? Are you taking the kids to a pantomine? Do you want to hang up a do not disturb sign when the Boxing Day sales start?
- How does your daily 'check in' fit with your normal working day? If you normally have most calls and emails in the morning, then that's probably the best time to check in
- What you are going to do to ensure that while you are away from your desk you don't miss out on business?
This can help you relax and enjoy your festive break instead of constantly worrying that you are letting your business down.
3. Forward your calls
If you or someone else miss a call and it goes to voicemail, surveys show that most customers, especially new ones, will not leave a voicemail message; they'll just call someone else.
A virtual receptionist can solve this issue by answering all your calls and then directing them according to how you set it up. So if you know you'll be away; make sure to set up call forwarding, which works on any phone and can divert to landline or mobile, and let a colleague take the call on your behalf. No missed calls mean no missed business.
It all means that you'll get to enjoy your Christmas break, safe in the knowledge that you're not missing out on business just because you're away from your desk. You, your family, your colleagues and customers can have a merry Christmas and come back relaxed and refreshed, ready for another successful year.