As we edge closer to the end of an incredible year, you may be anxious about what lies ahead for you and your small business. You’ve made it this far, but what about next year? Have you done enough to ensure that your business will still thrive after December 31st? Moreover, are you ready to take full advantage of the massive profit potential as customers loosen their purse strings to indulge in some festive fun?
To ensure that you and your business are able to glide into the new year with ease, we’ve compiled a complete small business holiday survival guide. By the end of this article, you’ll be kicking anxiety to the curb and opening your door to limitless opportunities.
Your 9-Step SME Holiday Survival Guide
The first step is making sure that your business is well-organised, both for the festive rush and year ahead. Staying on top of your business’ every need will give you an advantage as you prepare for 2023. As the old saying goes, fail to plan and you plan to fail.
1. Make the Most out of Your Calendar
Because we live in a linear world, our plans inevitably involve time. So, start by looking at your calendar and plotting the way forward. Schedule all your festive season meetings, marketing events, employee schedules, admin runs, and anything else you can think of. Then, turn your attention to the new year and do the same for at least the first month. If you can plan even further than January, super!
2. Budget to Avoid an End of the Month Scare
Once your schedule is set, take a look at your financial situation. Have you managed to stick to your 2022 budget? What adjustments do you need to make moving forward so that you don’t run into the same issue again next year? Is your tax portfolio up to date and are there any outstanding invoices (both due and owed)?
It’s also a great time to see where you can make budget cuts for the coming year. And, depending on the nature of your business, you should either plan for a surge in income or prepare for a slight drop in revenue during the holiday season. To paraphrase Tony Montana from Scarface, once your money is right then everything else will fall into place.
3. Stock up on Essentials and Get Rid of Non-Essentials
Depending on the type of business you have and how it’s set up, the festive season usually means a surge in sales. So, if you’re offering a product, you’ll need to ensure you have enough stock to last the holidays. If you run a service, then make sure that you and any other staff members are available for the busier period.
You should also check in with your suppliers about their availability in December. Some may still be closed when you’re ready to order in the new year, so your January and February stock may have to be bought this year as well.
It’s also an excellent time to assess what is working and what isn’t. Do away with stock items and services that are performing poorly and bring in something fresh that will generate more sales.
4. Make Necessary Upgrades and Kill the Waste
Technology continues to advance at hyper speed. You’ll need to take a look at your current software and hardware and determine where changes need to be made. In some cases, you’ll need to perform upgrades, while other technologies can be let go completely.
There may be instances where you’ll need to invest in something entirely new, like a payment solution. Also, consider levelling up your business’ payment possibilities to include wireless options like iK Tap on Phone.
This time of year is best for doing all those things you’ve been putting off until now. Declutter your workspace and even clean up your emails and folders. Tackle every outstanding to-do list until every task is accomplished, and re-examine your current workflow and processes.
All-in-all, surviving the holidays requires elite time management and exceptional planning. If you can get those right, you’ll be one step closer to ushering your business into the new year.
The global shift in mindset and business activity over the festive period means that you also have to adjust your marketing strategy. What worked in June may not work at this time, and what you plan for December may not translate well in the new year.
5. Embrace the Festivities
Start with customising your website, emails, apps, and social media pages to include a touch of festive fun. Bright colours are always great for this time of year, and a little holiday message will go a long way.
6. Provide Exceptional Customer Experiences
Try running competitions on social media, offer discounts and incentives that only run during the holidays, and run promotions that place your company at the forefront of holiday excitement.
You could also offer extended services such as:
- Hosting holiday events and encouraging your clients to participate
- Offering free or discounted deliveries
- Adding small thank-you gifts to each sale
- Extending your business hours for a selected period to give your customers a better chance at making a purchase.
Everything that you do during this time should be aimed at showing your customers just how much you appreciate them. Just remember that you are running a business, and whatever you do should positively affect your bottom line.
It’s easy to get swept up in the chaos of the festive season, forgetting that at the core of everything are real people with real lives. So, as you go about your holiday preparations, remember to include your staff in your considerations.
7. Use Leave Calendars for Staffing
Schedule leave days as far in advance as possible and offer extra leave for the holidays. Generate a holiday work schedule that is manageable for everyone involved and, while you’re at it, plot the office timetable for the first few months of the new year.
With the possible influx of business, you may need to hire extra pairs of helping hands to get you through it. Assess your staff requirements and make a list of your vacant jobs. It’s also a great time to involve family members who might need a little extra income and teenagers who need experience and, with all the extra time on their hands, a way to stay out of trouble.
8. Boosting Morale
As we try to overcome year-end fatigue, nothing boosts employee morale better than knowing a bonus is around the corner. As your revenue and sales increase, thank the people who made it possible by giving them their own slice of the pie. Offer incentives for exceeding expectations and pay a little extra for any overtime you may require of them.
Another way to boost company morale is one of our favourites: a staff party! Here’s how you make your staff party special for your employees:
- Host the party during a weekday and during office hours, and ensure that no work is scheduled for the day.
- While having the party at your offices does cut costs, hosting it at another venue is always more magical for your employees. Just make sure you cover the bill.
- Give out awards for excellent work done throughout the year, and think of other ways to include prize giving as part of your celebrations.
9. Treat Yourself
If you are your company’s only employee, it’s still just as important to treat yourself, maybe even more so. Plan a special outing that’ll give you a chance to let your hair down and enjoy yourself after all the hard work you’ve put in. Much like it is for your employees, if you are not motivated during this busy season, your business may struggle to survive it.
The festive season is for winding down and taking stock, but also for that one final push before the year ends. Be sure to have fun in everything you do and ride the wave of the holiday vibe. Reminisce on everything you’ve done this year and be proud of yourself.
Giving back is another great morale booster, so be sure to help those in need and include your employees in any charitable undertakings.
We hope that you are now more confident that your business will survive the festive period. You’ve done so well to come this far and so much more awaits!