As the end of the year roars into view, it’s time to start preparing your business now, before things get hectic.
The holiday season brings with it a range of challenges and business opportunities, so don’t drag your feet.
Now that we’re nearing the end of November 2023, it’s wise to consider your business to-dos before you’re scrambling to buy Christmas presents and wondering what you’re doing for New Year’s Eve.
1) Plan for continued inflation and high cost of living in 2024
It’s a strong possibility that the current interest rate rises, inflation, and soaring cost of living will continue into 2024.
These things may be beyond your control as a small business owner, but you can still budget and plan for a range of scenarios. Indeed, preparing for these eventualities will put your business in good stead come January 2024.
While there’s no magic bullet for these pressures, and every business will be affected differently, there are strategies you can deploy to buttress your business against the projected economic climate in Australia:
- Financial health checks.
- Regular cash flow reporting.
- Increasing prices.
- Building an emergency fund.
- Consulting with an advisor.
- Reassessing expenses, COGS, and suppliers.
2) Will you be busy or slow?
Depending on your business type, the holiday season will either represent an extremely demanding period or a time of business slowdown.
So what will your end-of-year experience be like for your biz this year; and what kind of planning suits your business type?
I’m going to be busy
Those operating in the retail or hospitality space, among others, are likely going to be pretty busy over the next month or so. If this is you, here are some things to start thinking about:
- Make sure you have adequate stock.
- Do a seasonal marketing campaign or sales special.
- Ensure you’re well-staffed.
- Double check all eCommerce and POS systems are working well.
It’ll be a bit slow
If the festive season represents a time of business shutdown or slowdown, you’ll have a different set of things to think about. Consider the following:
- Manage any staff leave or changes to working hours.
- Communicate your shut down period to customers.
- Do a ‘spring cleaning’ of your business and tie off any loose ends – financial or physical.
- Be ready to hit the ground running when you start up again.
- Preplan some marketing campaigns for 2024.
3) Dust off your business plan
Your business plan should be a living document that gets updated regularly. Before 2024 comes knocking, find your business plan and refresh it for the year ahead. Some aspects to think about when renewing your business plan:
- What worked and what didn’t?
- What are my new goals for next year?
- How can I improve my marketing?
- What can be done to boost my cash flow?
- How will I deal with inflation and higher costs?
- Should I ditch any of my underperforming goods or services and introduce new ones?
- Can I save money on supplies and expenses?
- Do my branding, website, or socials need a refresh?
- When’s my next business advisor appointment?
4) Communicate with your customers and clients
Make sure you get ahead of your festive customer communications and marketing now, before it’s too late.
Jump into your CRM and social media accounts. Fire off an email and some social posts to let your customers know your opening days and hours over the holidays.
While you’re at it, knock-up a marketing campaign or pull together a holiday sale to maximise your potential for profits. These things foster buzz about your business, and help keep it front of mind.
On top of direct communication, you should also update your opening hours on Google My Business.
5) Make sure your staff is in the know
Whether you’re going to be run off your feet, or shutting down for a breather, you need to ensure your staff are in the know.
Things to think about:
- Make sure all staff are aware of shifts or opening hours.
- Double check who’ll be taking leave and when.
- Lay down some key seasonal responsibilities and aims with your employees.
- Adjust your payroll to match any changes.
6) Review your tech and workflows
Take a good hard look at the way you do business and the tools you use.
Is there a cheaper or better solution out there? How about functionality? Take a look around and see if there are any new tools or solutions on the market that could be useful for your business. If you find something fresher or better, plan to implement it in the new year.
While you’re at it, interrogate your workflows and see how you can make them more efficient or productive. There’s almost always a better way of performing regular business tasks, so map out your regular workflows and look for ways to reduce steps, use better solutions, or eliminate wasted time.
7) Chill out and reset!
Last but not least, take some time to chill out and reset after a busy year.
Spend time with friends and family, go on a holiday, eat too much, have an afternoon nap, go for a walk, listen to that podcast, go to the movies, have a night on the town, read that book…. Whatever it is that floats your boat, take time to re-energise, celebrate, and take a well-earned breather.