How sole traders and retailers can prepare for a holiday

Customer matters

19 June 2016

As a sole trader or retailer, you're probably no stranger to working long hours – sometimes for weeks on end. And in that high-pressure environment, the stress of trying to arrange a holiday on top of your normal workload can be enough to put you off.

Downtime is important though – it's beneficial for both you and your business to take advantage of your self-employed holiday entitlement. So make sure you have the answers to these questions before you leave, and you'll be on your way to a stress-free and well-earned break.

Break when business is quiet

Look back over previous years' records to see if there's a pattern. If you notice business is slower during the same few weeks each year, this could be the perfect time to take a holiday. Planning a break during quieter periods means you'll reduce your loss of revenue. What's more, if you're leaving someone else in charge, they won't have any big rushes to contend with.

Do you need a stand-in?

If you're likely to receive lots of client requests while you're away, it's a good idea to arrange for someone to stand-in. Perhaps an employee or your apprentice could handle matters. However, if you’re a sole trader, you may wish to reach an agreement with a fellow trader – someone who you know and trust – where they’ll take care of your work while you're away and vice versa.

Will you need additional income?

In the weeks running up to your holiday it's important to budget carefully, making sure you have enough cash flow to keep you going during your trip and when you return. If you’re a sole trader may find that it helps to take on some extra work before you go. Besides the additional income, bulking up your schedule before you leave allows you to tackle certain tasks that your stand-in might not be able to manage. What's more, you'll really feel like you've earned your break.

What's the best way to let your clients know?

The last thing you want is your biggest client getting in touch with a request only to find out that you're on holiday. If you use Facebook for business, post a notice to let people know how long you're going to be away for and when they can expect you back. Set an 'out-of-office' message on your email account so that customers will know not to expect an immediate reply.

And, once you've returned feeling rejuvenated and ready for anything, remember to remind your customers that you're open for business!

Now, though, it’s time to relax and enjoy your time off!

What’s your view? Is there ever a good time to take a holiday? What are your tips for taking time off from your retail business? Share your tips in the comments below.