Summer is upon us and it’s time for vacations, family trips and hopefully a lot more play in your life!! But one of the biggest fears for entrepreneurs when building a business is taking time off!
How do you take a vacation when running a service-based business without losing traction?
I remember the first year I was in business, I was so afraid to “leave town” for a week! How would my clients respond? Would I lose clients? Would all the hard work I put into growing my business suddenly self-destruct? The fears went gaga in my head.
With that being said, everyone needs “down time” to reboot, re-energize and to reconnect with themselves AND their loved ones.
Having time to decompress makes you better FOR your clients and team! So, I thought about how I would make it happen and how I would take a week off to frolic in the sun with my kiddos at the beach.
So, what I did was plan – communicate – get back-up!
It’s so funny how my past experience being a nurse prepared me to take time off from my business even though I was so afraid to lose clients. And I know that many of my readers who are personal concierge are ALSO nurses, so I’m pretty sure they’ll get a kick out of this!!
Back in my nursing days when I would leave the “unit” to take a lunch break (which in reality only happened once a month or so…that’s a story for another day), I needed to do so strategically, to be certain my patients were well cared for while I was “gone.”
So what I would do is:
Before I would take my lunch break, I would go around the unit, patient to patient, and let them know in advance that I would be leaving the unit to go on lunch. I would start this process about an hour in advance so that I could convey to each patient, one at a time, when I was taking a break, who would be covering for me while I was gone and when they could expect me back.
At the same time, I would anticipate any needs they may have such as needing fresh water, a snack or pain medicine. With them aware, we would work together to handle any of their issues that may pop up over the next hour.
So, when you are planning to take time off in your concierge business, plan when you are going. Is there a time of the year that you have a lull in business? Perhaps that would be the best time to go so that there are fewer interruptions in your clients’ lives and schedules.
I know for us, taking time off the month of December is just NOT an option!! No one on my team takes time off during December. But everyone gets a little break the week and a half between Christmas and New Year’s because that is predictably a “slower,” more manageable week.
As I mentioned above, I would not only plan to take my lunch at a certain time and update patients, but I would also communicate with them and anticipate their needs.
So for you, as you’re preparing for time away, give your clients plenty of notice. This is not only good business etiquette, but it will also ease their concerns. By ensuring that there’s a plan in place ahead of time, you can handle their needs in a timely manner and reduce the number of requests that may come in while you’re away. Call your clients one by one or if you have dozens of clients perhaps try sending a mass email out to everyone. Then handle individual needs as needed.
Of course, in the hospital setting, I would NOT be able to leave my patients without coverage. I would give a quick report to another nurse and update him/her as to some events that might pop up while I was at lunch, such as a patient waiting for transport to take them to X-ray, or a patient who may be due for pain meds during the time I was at lunch. With a little clarity, the nurse that was covering for me would not be caught off guard unless of course, an emergency would arise.
Can you have one of your top team members take over and handle any requests or issues that may come up?
But perhaps you don’t have a team yet? Don’t worry – I’ve gotcha covered!!
Before I had a team, I would have a business associate who was geographically close by handle any “emergency” type requests and phone calls.
Back then, I had a good friend who owned a company very similar to Task Complete, but she was located in New Jersey. She was always willing to handle things for me while I was gone, and I would do the same for her.
We would even forward our calls to each other’s cell phone too.
The next time you’re ready for some R+R or vacation time, can you put a similar plan in place for yourself ??
And if you HAVE taken time away, what strategies did YOU use that perhaps I haven’t shared here? You can leave me a note in the comments!
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