Travel can pose unique challenges for small business owners. If you’re a solopreneur or have a very small team, you might be reluctant to hit the road. What if clients need you? What if you’re out of cell service or can’t find a hotspot to check your email?
But skipping vacations can have a negative impact. According to Entrepreneur.com:
Entrepreneurs are often celebrated for wearing multiple hats and logging numerous hours. But working without letup is a bad habit that can jeopardize business, health and the life you’re supposedly working toward.
So what’s an entrepreneur to do?
1. Communicate Proactively
Let clients know ahead of time that you’re going on vacation. Send an email out to your email list. Post on your Facebook and other social media pages. Tell clients you’ll be traveling and have limited availability during that time.
Most clients will understand your need for a vacation and will be willing to hold off on big projects until you get back. Of course, you should wrap up major projects before you go.
No matter what you do, you’re going to get clients who don’t realize you’re on vacation until they need you. Set up an autoresponder in your email that says something like:
Thank you for your email. I’m [on vacation/visiting family/attending an amazing seminar that will help me serve you better] from [date to date], so please excuse me if I’m a little slower than usual in getting back to you. Expect a response from me no later than [date]. Have a great day!
2. Make yourself mobile
What are the bare minimum tools you’ll need to keep your business running on the road? Is your cell phone enough. Do you need a laptop? Are there printed papers or files you can’t work without?
Set your business up for mobility by digitizing what you can and storing information in the cloud. You can also look into remote access services like TeamViewer, (my personal favorite), Chrome Remote Desktop, , or Citrix LogMeIn.
All of these services allow you to use a password to access your desktop computer from your laptop, tablet or smartphone. That means all of your files are available anytime as long as you have an internet connection.
3. Get Virtual Imaging
You may not be able to afford a full-time receptionist to answer your calls while you’re gone, but virtual imaging is an affordable alternative. As part of a virtual imaging package, a real person will answer a dedicated phone line in the name of your business.
Your receptionist will take messages and send you an email with all the pertinent information. That way you can enjoy your vacation without being chained to your cell phone.
So get out out there and enjoy the summer.