This is a guest post by Elle Roberts.
Taking time out and stepping away from your business is crazy important.
It not only keeps you sane and feeling somewhat human, but often, our most creative ideas happen when we step away from the day to day.
The purpose of this article is NOT to make you feel like you can’t switch off from your business. We all need that. It will hopefully get you to think about how you do it, so you don’t damage your business or undo your hard work.
Here are 5 ways taking time off can negatively impact your business, and a possible solution…
1. New customers are the hardest to find
We all know social media, SEO, advertising and promotions are hard work, and while staying connected with our current customers is vital, it is the money and effort involved in seeking out new customers is that can be the biggest drain on our business.
If you manage to snag a few of new eyes over your vacation time, what do you think their reaction will be to an empty shop front?
You are giving them nothing to look at, not even a clue of what you sell or the quality of your work.
Someone who has no reason to invest time in your business is not going to go looking through your Facebook page to find it.
In those first few seconds they spend on your empty store page you are likely to have lost them for good.
2. Losing connections and rankings
By closing your online store over the holiday period, you can lose all of the online connections you have worked so hard to build. If your shop is closed and there are no products visible to the public for a few weeks, you can lose your search engine rankings, as you no longer have keywords or images to index or to direct people to.
It takes time and consistency to work your way up the ranks of search engines, and yet like so many things, it takes no time at all to slip back down the list.
3. Opportunities for growth
Media, offline stores and other businesses regularly use the quiet holiday period to plan for the months and the year ahead. If they are out scouting the internet for new products to stock or new business prospects and your online presence is blank or closed, you’ve potentially just lost yourself the exposure and sales you have been working hard to find.
These people are time poor, so they are unlikely to check back when you open things up again.
4. Post-Christmas sales
You might hate the sale season but what about your customers? Are they going to be looking for a bargain? Maybe your customers are hoping for some quiet time away from the family and online shopping is how they will spend that time.
The whole post-Christmas sale chaos is becoming more and more prominent in the online space, as well as in traditional stores. Online shoppers don’t want to miss out on the buzz of grabbing a bargain in the post-holiday sales, when shoppers head online to indulge themselves after Christmas, because so many online stores are closed, in holiday mode, or simply empty.
Be the solution your shoppers are looking for!
5. Your never know who is talking about you
If one of your products is featured on a blog or in a magazine during your holiday time there is going to be a load of orders AND even more eyes that you are missing out on. Many blogs and magazines will let you know if they are going to feature your work, but it is just as likely that you will blissfully unaware that someone is talking about you.
You don’t want to miss out on the benefits of outside exposure just because your away from your studio.
There are things you can do to have your cake and eat it too when it comes to holiday time.
So how do you holiday?
One solution? Keep the shop open just make it CRAZY CLEAR to your customers that no shipments will be made until you return. Let them make the decision as to whether they are happy to wait, or not.
Even if they do decide to go somewhere else, to get something quicker, they have seen your work and are much more likely to head to your website or Facebook page to connect with you.
Set up a separate mailing list just for while you are away and ask people to sign up if they want to be alerted to your return. Then when you are back and ready to get back to work offer them a discount for their patience.
Make your online presence work for you, even in your absence.
Elle Roberts is creative business coach and co-director of Studio Exsto.
She is passionate about helping passionate people thrive and develop their business skills so they can build a career and a business doing what they love!
Elle is also founder of the Artful Business Conference.
(bio photo by 74 Lime Lane)