What is considered the most wonderful time of year can often be difficult for those who run or work for a small business. Businesses will be affected in different ways depending on their niche, for example those in retail will often experience their highest sales, but other businesses may see a decrease in production and sales. As it’s the season of goodwill, here are a few tips that we stand by to help your business to stay on track and make the festive season more enjoyable for you and your team.
Plan your business expenses well in advance
Christmas parties, gifts for staff, client lunches and other such festivities are important and rewarding but can be a big hit on your business finances. Make sure you plan and budget for these costs, so they do not come as a surprise and therefore unmanageable at this time of year.
Don’t spend unnecessarily
If your business is likely to suffer a decrease in productivity during the festivities you may be tempted to use the time to carry out repairs, maintenance and other such activities that you just didn’t get the chance to do during the rest of the year. While this is a great idea in theory, make sure the cost of doing the work is not going to put unnecessary stress on your finances. In short, put off expenses that can wait until cash flow is more abundant.
Instil some Christmas spirit
Spreading some Christmas cheer around the office by putting up some decorations will do wonders for staff morale but don’t just stop there, why not engage your customers with the spirit of Christmas too? Is there a special Christmas offer your customers could benefit from? We all love a bargain, so get creative and see what promotional ideas you can come up with. It is a great opportunity for you to show the human side of your business, engage with customers and have some fun.
Make the most of potential opportunities
If you are offering your customers a good deal or two, why not reap some benefits too? Running a promotion on slow moving inventory will help you clear excess stock fast. No matter how well you try to forecast sale trends and manage your supply purchasing, there’s always the chance that a product will sell slower than expected. Running a festive promotion that helps move stock off shelves without putting you in the red is a cracker of a plan.
Another great opportunity would be to think about using your stock or service as an incentive. If your business is online then one of your major goals will undoubtedly be to collect email addresses of your traffic with the aim of converting into sales. By presenting your online visitors with a token of appreciation (such as a reduced-price product/service) for signing up to exclusive emails, you flush out your excess stock while building a valuable email list or gaining valuable customer data.
Take stock while hanging up your stocking
For many types of businesses that experience a lull in the holidays, it’s a good time to take stock of the year’s trading and tie up all the loose ends of that year, including all the things that you have been putting on your ‘to do’ list throughout the year. You may want to get started with your business’ new year’s resolutions early, reassess your marketing strategy or carry out some training.
Plan for some time to relax and unwind
The Christmas period is not always about clearing stock, reaping opportunities, schmoozing with clients or tying up as many loose ends as possible before the new year. For some, it’s about taking some well-earned time off and jetting off on holiday. As a business owner, this isn’t always straight forward but with careful planning, delegation and communication with staff, you can be confident that things will keep operating as they should while you are away, allowing you to switch off and enjoy the break. Alternatively, if all is quiet it may be actually costing you money to stay open – closing the office for a few days (stating your holidays on your website) could boost employee morale and save you some money on utility bills!
If you are using the holidays to get to grips with you finances, do not hesitate to get in touch with us, please call 020 8468 1087, email or fill in our contact form.