Drum up business by going away!
As a small business owner, taking time off is always a bit of a worry. What if my clients need something while I’m away – will they wait for me to get back or will they go somewhere else?
In the past I haven’t always let people know I’m going away, for fear they might stop using me. I’ve just taken equipment with me and if something came in while I was on holiday I still did it either early in the morning or in the evenings.
This year I’ve taken a different tack and actually I think it’s led to more work not less!
I’ve had two holidays this year – a fortnight in the Western Isles of Scotland in May and a week in Italy in October. I did actually take recording equipment to Scotland because we were travelling by car and had the space, but it was only for emergency use, and I didn’t take anything at all to Italy – not even my computer.
On both occasions I emailed current clients, and clients from the recent past, letting them know I was going away and when I would be available again. I had some lovely messages back wishing me a good holiday, and I also had some work! Just reminding people of me and my services prompted some of them to take action and get something recorded before I went away. A couple of others informed me that there was work in the pipeline that would be ready to record when I got back.
What I’ve found is that an opportunity to contact your clients and remind them you exist, but without trying to sell them anything, is golden. Keeping the work coming in is all about staying top of mind with your clients, but nobody wants a barrage of ‘buy my stuff emails’. However people don’t mind a quick message about your availability – that’s just helpful and means they don’t waste their time trying to contact you when you’re out of office.
And talking of being out of office, when you go away do you remember to update your voicemail greeting to let people know when you’ll be open again? This is really important if you have a physical premises that people come to, but is also useful if you don’t plan to answer business calls while you’re on holiday. If you hate recording your own messages let me know – I can help with that! (Or you can download the done-for-you greetings from my website if you want a really low-cost option).
It’s very hard to completely switch off from work when you’re a small business owner. I did still answer emails while I was away, but the equipment I took to Scotland was only used once to record something a client absolutely couldn’t wait for. Thankfully it was short and only took me a few minutes.
I’ve enjoyed my holidays much more by not being so available to my clients and more available to my family.
What do you do when you go away? Do you leave work behind completely, keep going as much as you can, or just do a little bit if you have to? Let me know!