#24: How Systems Can Save Your Business From the Summer Slump

Office Operations

The theme this month is “Summer Systems” and, traditionally, summer is a super-slow period for a lot of service providers and business owners. People are traveling, home with their kids, maybe on a vacation, or just outside taking advantage of the weather. And this can mean, of course, less income for you.

But there are things you can do! In this video, I am going to share four things that you can do that will help minimize a summer slump.

There are so many obvious advantages to taking a vacation, staycation, or even a long weekend, but many business owners that I know dread stepping away from the computer or the phone or mobile device for any length of time because they feel things will fall apart. It’s time that you took a worry-free and laptop-free vacation.

I’ll be the first to admit that I take my laptop everywhere. I only recently put my email on my phone and I still take it with me because the term “worry-free” means different things to different people and I’ll talk about that in a minute.  I only recently hired a Virtual Assistant to help. But even if you’re not there yet, to have someone take care of email, customer service issues, client care, the things that worry you the most, there are a few things you can do now to get some downtime.

First, plan.

Create a plan of the tasks that need to be completed before you go away. Avoid scheduling any product or service launches while you’re away. If you think you can automate the whole sequence and then go away and make money while you’re gone, things are going to happen.  Usually, that’s when things fall apart or you realize there’s a big gap in your system. 

Second, Automate.

There are a lot of things you can automate while you’re on vacation:

  • Appointment Scheduling – remember to block out your calendar for your vacation time, so customers don’t accidentally book appointments while you’re away.
  • Customer Support – If you don’t have an FAQ page that website visitors can find simple answers to their questions, get on this. It will save you so much, not to mention the number of inquiries from your prospects and customers.
  • Email – what I am going to do is set up a role-based email for me and my team so that we can both access it and be on the same page with what needs to get done.
  • Order Processing – Now if there’s any part of your sales funnel that requires manual intervention, see how you can automate that. For example, if you require somebody to check a box before they get something and you find that they are not doing that, or it’s being held up for some reason, see how you can automate that. 

Third, delegate.

Of course, if you have an assistant and your processes and systems are in place, this part is cake. The only thing you need to follow up with is what didn’t work, where is there a gap in your system?  It’s good to test your systems from time to time.

Delegation is much much easier if you have your systems in place and it’s as easy as having someone look in the knowledge center or your SOP when something does need to get done. Because even if you don’t have an assistant, you can always get a colleague to step in and then return the favor when she goes on vacation but you have to have clear and detailed processes in place.

Here are some ground rules:

Arrange a check-in time – Just communicate with your delegate or your assistant to text or call only if it’s an emergency, otherwise, they can email you and you can get back to them when you can. 

Second, define what constitutes an emergency. Most things can be handled by the team member or your delegate. Empower them to make decisions, such as paying an invoice up to a certain amount or under what circumstances should they contact you.

Another possibility is having a trial run, maybe a week before you leave, try out having the other person be in charge.

Having a worry-free vacation can mean different things to different business owners. While it may mean completely switching off and having no contact with your business, others will get peace of mind from knowing they can check in on their business no matter what and that their most important VIPs are taken care of.

If you’re craving business freedom, this is going to get you one step closer.  It does take a mindset shift to wind down and enjoy the fruits of your labor, so whatever you do, be sure to take care of you this summer. 

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