How to get your business ready for a busy Christmas season
It’s here! The holiday season is breathing its merry breath down our necks and every business owner should be prepping now, before its too late.
Some businesses may be in shutdown mode over the holidays, and many more will be in a peak sales period. But it doesn’t matter what kind of business you have, there’s a few things you’ll need to get done in the next few weeks.
1) Let your customers know when you’re open
First up – you need to ensure that you properly communicate any changed opening hours or any shutdowns throughout the holiday period.
If you have a loyal customer database, an email campaign may be in order. At the very least you should make sure your Google business listing reflects your opening hours correctly to avoid negative customer sentiment or disappointment. You can also fire up your socials to spread the word.
2) Stock your stocking!
With supplier lines still being negatively affected post-COVID, it’s imperative you pre-empt any holiday rushes and make sure you have more than adequate stock and supplies before things get too hectic. You don’t want to jeopardise your sales and service by running out of vital stock.
3) Make sure you have enough hands on deck
Whether or not this will be a slow or busy time of year for you, you need to communicate with your employees. If it’s going to get busy, make sure you know who will be on the roster and do your best to have back up staff in case of illness or missed shifts.
Be sure you have a calendar of who will be away and who will be on, just in case.
If you’re slowing down, then clearly let your staff know what’s expected of them and what their hours are.
4) Get festive with your marketing
The holiday season is the perfect opportunity to do some promotional marketing!
- Get your holiday socials in order! Whether a promo, sales suggestion, or a happy snap of your festive staff crew – fire off some seasonal socials to boost awareness. Make sure you link your social media posts back to a landing page or sales page to maximise your effort.
- Can you pull a promotion together? Think about what kind of deal you could offer and make sure you have the requisite stock and sales process in place.
- Dress it up! If you have a brick-and-mortar store, some tasteful and eye-catching decorations never go astray to draw some eyeballs.
- Send an email campaign to your existing customers. Not only is this a great way to remind them of your business these holidays and drum up some income, you can kill a few birds with one stone by offering promos and reminding them of your opening hours while you’re at it.
5) Do some end of year financial reporting to know how you’re faring
So that you bust into the new year ready to roll, it’s a great idea to use this time to run some financial reports and have a look at your budget. By using your accounting software to pull a few financial reports like cash flow, P&L, and a balance sheet, you can take stock of the calendar year.
Make sure you also do some fresh budgeting and forecasting based on these stats to get a preview of what next year might look like.
What worked? What didn’t? Can you reduce overheads or spend cash more wisely? Are your profits sustainable? Only when you take stock of your financial data can you know what to do differently next year.
6) Bring on the boring business admin!
Apart from producing some key financial reports, now is also a great opportunity (once things die down a bit) to brush away the cobwebs and sort your business out for the new year. Get a list together of all the things you’ve neglected and tick them off.
- Take a fresh look at your systems, tech and software. Are they updated and integrated? Are there better solutions out there?
- Tidy it up! Whether it’s a storeroom, your home office, or your storefront, spend time getting organised.
- Go through your accounts payable and receivable to either pay down your expenses or chase up payment from customers.
- Have a chat with your bookkeeper, accountant or business advisor to get some sage advice ahead of a year that looks to be rife with inflation and higher costs of living and doing business.
7) Set aside some downtime
You deserve it. Whether you set aside some ‘you time’ after the rush or during the next slower period, reserve some space to relax. Burnout never helped anybody, so give yourself some TLC and spend time with those closest to you these holidays. You’ll come back fresh and ready to swing in the new year.