How to Survive Christmas with your Small Business Intact (and your sanity!)
Christmas is a wonderful, crazy, stressful time, especially so if you run your own business. With headlines recently screaming that most entrepreneurs would be working on Christmas day and taking little or no break, we decided to put together a list of things that will help your business run more smoothly over the holiday period and allow you to catch some essential re-charging time.
1 Plan for a break. There’s still time to get those lists going and prioritise and delegate the things that need to be done before Christmas. Making sure you have covered everything and allowed for all eventualities means that you can actually relax and take some well-earned time off for yourself over the holidays. We’ve put this at number one, because as the owner of a small business, the buck usually stops with you and without some time to rest and recuperate, you can’t give it your best.
2 Be very clear on Christmas shipping and delivery. It’s great to be able to offer deliveries before the big day, but don’t promise it if it’s simply not possible. This will save you a lot of angry calls and frustrated ex-customers in the last few days.
3 Make sure you spread the word about any great deals you are offering for Christmas. There’s no point in having them if nobody knows about them! Which brings us to social media. Christmas is a great time to make the most of social media platforms to engage with customers and since people are feeling festive, they are more likely to engage back!
4 Automate your business. Oh, I know we are always banging this particular drum, but a new study in Australia has found that working for yourself frees you up. 94% of those surveyed said they were spending more time with their children. But it will only work if you find ways to streamline your business and automate anything that can be. It might be too late for this Christmas but that could be you by next year, or in time for the summer holidays! Just ask us if you need advice on how to do this.
5 Offer fantastic customer service at Christmas, it’s a great time to really make an impact on your customers. We’re all a bit stressed and overwhelmed at this busy time, so helping customers solve their problems with the minimum of fuss and bother will be especially appreciated at this time.
6 Make sure your customers and clients know your working hours over the holidays. Setting up an out of office reply on your phone and emails and making sure your opening hours are clearly visible on your website will make life easier for everyone.
7 Bring on the Christmas cheer. Even if your customers don’t visit your premises a little Christmas decoration will raise your employees spirits, and your own! Go on, put a bit of holly up!
8 Keep track of your cashflow. Accounting software will help you to get an immediate real-time picture of what to expect. Use this information and put off unnecessary spending if possible, such as repairs or maintenance. And make sure you have the funds for your Christmas party – you can spend up to £150 per employee on a Christmas party. It’s tax-deductible so no excuses.
9 See number 1 again. And make sure you take that break yourself, you owe it to your business and yourself.
10 Take the time to think back over the last year and evaluate gently (it is Christmas after-all!). Has your business reached its potential this year? Have you achieved the goals you were striding for? What could or should you have done differently? The New Year is a fantastic opportunity to pick up where you left off with renewed enthusiasm and a clearer plan for how your business will reach its greatest potential!! If that seems daunting, ask us how we can help.
And finally, we’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of our clients for being the best in the world! We love working with each and everyone of you wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful and Profitable New Year.