With Christmas right around the corner, now is the perfect time to plan ahead for a successful festive season.
For many small businesses, the holiday period may be the most profitable time of the year. Most consumers will go into spending mode, getting together for good food, drinks, and great evenings. With people spending more money, it’s imperative you make sure your business is able to capitalise on this. Therefore, it’s worth taking the time to prepare!
So, here are our top tips for the run-up to December 25th…
1. Get Prepared
This step may seem obvious, but time can pass very quickly and suddenly it’s a week before Christmas and you don’t feel ready.
For many small businesses, Christmas can be the busiest time of the year, whilst others may find that trade quietens down until the New Year. Whichever applies to you, it’s necessary to plan accordingly – especially when considering cash flow. Check out our guide on How to Manage Your Accounts as a Small Business, to learn more about controlling cash flow.
If you expect money to be tight over the next few months, then put off any non-essential spending, until the business starts picking up again. Many businesses will need to pay their tax returns at the end of January, so it can be worth keeping money back for that.
On the other hand, if you know Christmas will be a highly busy time for your business, then you need to ensure you have the resources to meet demand, whether that’s time, staff members, products, or anything else.
2. Think About Christmas Marketing
Whether Christmas proves busier or quieter than usual, a well-thought-out Christmas marketing plan can give your business a much-needed boost and will help you plan when you are most likely to have clients.
Christmas is the perfect opportunity for themed marketing events, no matter the sector you operate in. Pick something that is relevant for your and your target audience, in order to optimise the festive season. Take a look at our guide on Christmas Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses for some inspiration.
3. Get Festive
Whether it’s your physical or online store, it can be a brilliant idea to decorate for the festive season.
Decorations can help your business stand out and can be a deciding factor for wary shoppers. The more you decorate, the more excitement you bring customers!
It could also be a great idea to create a special Christmas promotion for customers.
4. Plan Staffing
Without a doubt, staff members will want to take time off over Christmas. Whether you have a lot of employees or work as a one-man band, then you need to plan around holiday time.
For some, one solution could simply be to close over Christmas. If you’re not expecting to be very busy, then shutting for a few days could be the easiest way to proceed.
Alternatively, you may want to take on temporary staff to cover whilst the permanent ones are away. This, however, presents additional costs in the form of salaries and training. However, if you would lose more money by closing, then this may be the best choice.
Remember that you are required to take out employers’ liability insurance when you take on staff - even if it’s only temporary. To learn more about insurance, check out our guide on Limited Company Insurance.
Whatever you decide, tell customers well in advance, so they won’t be annoyed when they can’t get in touch with you around Christmas.
5. Reward Your Staff
If you run your own small business, then you will know that your team is your greatest asset. It’s worth taking time to celebrate everything they contribute to the business. Too often, we may just focus on marketing strategies and the numbers and forget that it’s the people which many any organisation special.
6. Be Vigilant
The run-up to Christmas is notoriously a bad time for thefts. In 2016, tradesmen were more likely to have their tools stolen in the winter months, but thieves can target anyone.
Whether you work from a computer or have a spare room full of stock, you need to be careful. Try to keep valuables locked away and keep your eye on them, when not.
7. Check Your Insurance
Finally, before the busy Christmas period, it may be worth checking your insurance.
By increasing sales or taking on more clients, it could mean that your insurance needs updating to reflect your new circumstances, so ensure you look over your policy.
Furthermore, winter isn’t known for its beautiful weather, and storms and floods can be highly likely.
From laptops to tools to stock, weather damage could cause your business to stop trading, so make sure these items are covered by your insurance policy.
In the case of theft over the Christmas period, contents and equipment cover may pay out, but when buying your policy be sure to check everything you want is covered.
So, there you have it! We hope our top tips prove useful and that you can successfully prepare for a profitable Christmas season.
We wish you the very best of luck and a Merry Christmas!
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