It’s something many business owners don’t think of until it happens. No matter how well you are planning for your business launch or how well your new business is going, there will inevitably come a day when you are too ill (or injured) to work. While this may last as few as 24 hours, it’s still important to have a contingency plan. Most small business owners wear many hats and an unexpected absence – especially so soon after opening your doors – can sometimes set you way behind.
Since getting sick is eventually inevitable, what can you do? Don’t worry, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve that you may borrow.
1) Have an amazing business partner or manager. While going into business as a partnership means more negotiation than going solo, there’s no better contingency plan than someone as vested in your business as you are. Of course, this is not an option for everyone so…
2) Work ahead. It’s simple but if you know invoices are going out on Friday and you’ve got a few free minutes on Tuesday, don’t spend them playing Candy Crush. Take the time to work ahead and build those invoices early. Then, if you’re sick on Friday, all you have to do is hit send and go back to napping.
3. Automate what you can. If you sit down to write several blog posts, go ahead and schedule those to publish. If your accounting software will let you schedule when invoices are sent, do it. Use Buffer to feed articles periodically to your various social media channels. Much like working ahead, getting in the habit of automating things can help keep things running even when you’re not.
4. Don’t Work on Nyquil. Once you’ve had your dose of cold medicine, get some sleep. If you’re anything like I am, the combination of being sick and on cold medicine can leave you feeling rather drained. This is not a good time to be sending emails, tweets or other important correspondence. This can help you from appearing like a jerk when really you’re just exhausted.
5. Set up an auto responder. Once you’ve discovered you’re too sick to work, send an email to any clients with whom you have meetings or for whom you have deliverables due. Then, set up an auto responder on your email so that anyone who emails you throughout the day knows you’re out of commission for the day. All it needs to say is “I will be unavailable today but will respond to you as soon as possible.” or something to that affect. This lets clients and potential new clients know you’re not ignoring them and think their needs are a priority.
6. Take care of yourself. While sick, please don’t try to continue working at full speed. This will keep you sick longer and potentially get your customers sick too. It doesn’t look professional to be sneezing on your clients. Take your time, get yourself well, so you can be ready to face your work at full speed once you’re healthy.
How do you keep your business running while you’re sick?