Getting ready for the Movers & Breakers conference by Business Chicks I prepared the business for me to have 4 days off. What I didn’t prepare for was to have another week off after, as I caught the dreaded Covid!
When you run your own business often you wear all the hats and the thought of getting sick? Well you just don’t have time for that, do you? Unfortunately life doesn’t always go as planned, and sometimes we do get sick – usually at the most inconvenient times.
So after a whole week off, without a voice and with many days in bed I wanted to share some ways you can prepare your business in case you need to take time off without notice for yourself or your family.
Pre-Schedule Your Content
In a perfect world we would always be at least a month ahead in our social media and email content, just to feel organised. However when I fell sick, knowing that my socials wouldn’t just run bare was a huge relief.
If you’re still on the content hamster wheel of posting every day or week now is the perfect time to put a scheduling day in your calendar and actually do it. Taking one day to batch your content and then schedule it out saves so much time and being a month ahead will give you the peace of mind that you have a content buffer if you do fall ill.
One thing I wasn’t ahead with was my podcast, and even now I’m starting to feel better, I still can’t record an episode as my voice hasn’t returned!
If you need some inspiration for your posts be sure to download our Free eCommerce 2022 Planner.
Have a Business Manual
If you do need to get someone in to help while you’re unable to work you don’t want to have to train them up while feeling like crap. You might forget important things, or you may just not be able to.
Having SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) in your business is so important. You should have one for any task you do more than once. This can be as simple as a one pager with some screenshots and some notes. The idea is that anyone can access the SOP and do the task the way you want it to be done. SOPs are perfect for things like posting to social media, community management, sending an email broadcast, setting up a Facebook ad, picking and posting an order, writing a thank you card or contacting a customer via email.
Write a list of all the regular tasks you do in your business and then next time you do it film yourself doing it, or take screenshots and put together a document with instructions. Include any little details it would be important for someone to know. Imagine you won’t get to speak to the person and this document is the only communication you have.
Some documents that support your SOPs are your Marketing strategy and your brand guide. These documents will give someone an understanding of your business and how each element plays a part. They should be able to follow these guides and know which colours and fonts to use to make an image, what your brand voice is and who your customer avatar is. The more detailed the better as you want someone to be able to write as if they were you.
Automate Where Possible
Are you still doing tasks that could be automated? Sometimes we like to just do it ourselves but there may be tasks you’re doing every day or week that could be set up once and then automated. This won’t just save time while you’re sick but every day!
Have a look at https://zapier.com/ to get some inspiration for some tasks you may be able to automate.
If you write handwritten thank you cards for each order, get a stack printed with a pre-written message in a beautiful script font for times like this. You can always go back to your handwritten messages when you’re feeling better.
I know this may not yet be possible for you, but outsourcing can be a great way to take a load off your plate – it may stop you getting sick in the first place if you’re suffering from burn out.
To decide which tasks to outsource first, make 4 lists.
In one list write all the things you like doing that you are good at.
In the next write all the things you like doing but aren’t good at.
In the next all the things you don’t like doing but are good at.
Finally all the things you don’t like doing and aren’t good at.
That last list should be the first thing/s you outsource. Not only will it get something off your plate but it’s something in your business you don’t enjoy that you can pass on to someone who does. It can be incredibly freeing when you start to outsource the things that aren’t your zone of genius so you can focus on the things that are.
Get a Business Buddy
If outsourcing to a staff member or a temp is not yet possible, consider getting yourself a business buddy! Just like the old school buddy system, a business buddy is there to make sure you and your business don’t get left behind.
Make an agreement with your buddy for them to look after your business if you get ill, and vice versa. If you have all your content scheduled out in advance there won’t be too much for them to do and they will know what to do as they can just follow your manuals and SOPs.
Need a business buddy? If you’re in the Ignitor program be sure to use the Buddy System thread to find yourself a business buddy – they’re great for keeping you motivated and productive too.
Although I can’t stop you getting sick, if you follow the steps above at least your business will continue to thrive while you are and it will be still be there waiting for you in good condition when you get back. This way you can actually take the rest your doctor (or your body) proscribes and truly rest and recover. Be kind to yourself x