By BusinessCollective
December 26, 2014

Question: What is one thing entrepreneurs forget to automate, systemize, or build processes around before they shut down for holidays?

Finances

“Before you take off, ensure that the finances of your business are handled, including paying employees, accepting automated payments from clients, handing pay failures and paying your own invoices. By automating, you won’t return to an empty bank account and overdue bills.” — Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

Time Management

“Entrepreneurs and business owners don’t plan on not being busy. Holidays are meant for friends and family, and although we need to see business boom, you can still plan to focus on your social time without the distractions of a phone, tablet or laptop. Plan your days to be carefree, and “budget” time to check in with work — not the other way around.” — Grant Gordon, Solomon Consulting Group

Holiday Shipping and Returns

“Clearly communicating holiday shipping and return information before shutting down is crucial to customer conversions and satisfaction. You can do this in several ways. Your can use language such as, “final day to order to receive by Christmas” on product descriptions and shipping pages. You can also set up an email autoresponder for the emails typically associated with customer questions.” — Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

Customer Support

“You can’t assume that your customers aren’t working just because you’ve taken off for the holidays. You can’t even assume that your customers celebrate the same holidays that you do. So make sure your customers can at least get a basic level of assistance while you’re away. Even writing up fixes for the most common problems they might encounter is a step in the right direction.” — Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

Proper Notifications

“Make sure you clearly communicate to people that you’ll be out of office, whether it’s through an email autoresponder or a message you post on your Facebook page. As long as you take the due diligence to announce your impending shut down, your customers and partners will be mostly satisfied with their inability to reach you. ” — Andy Karuza, SpotSurvey

Team Vacation Tracking

“Because our teammates have different dates they are taking off during the holidays, we wanted to be respectful of everyone’s days off. So, we had everyone update the company calendar with the dates they will be available and unavailable during the holidays.” — Nanxi Liu, Enplug

This story was originally published on StartupCollective.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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