The 12 days of Christmas planning
Whilst many business owners shudder at the thought of Christmas approaching, when it comes to business planning it’s never too early to start thinking about the festive season.
Here are the 12 days of Christmas planning to help get your house in order and protect your business over the festive season.
1. Plan for the unexpected
Planning for the unexpected is good practice throughout the whole year. But, with business often slowing down, staff taking holidays and offices closing, December in particular can bring unexpected disaster, so it’s important to be prepared. Whilst office fires, severe flooding and power cuts are obviously worth preparing for, don’t forget the smaller issues that also need consideration, such as the implications of operating a skeleton staff. With careful preparation your business will be able to operate seamlessly under all circumstances with limited damage to your company.
2. Consider the impact of the weather
As the temperature drops the question on everyone’s lips is: will it be a white Christmas? But, perhaps the more critical question for business owners is: will the weather impact my business? British weather is unpredictable and can heavily impact business operations, but with careful planning you can limit the damage. It’s worth considering what impact disrupted transport, frozen pipes and other weather-related issues could have so you can put back-up plans in place. Remember that response times will likely be reduced over the festive period so factor this in.
3. Touch base with your customers
Christmas is a good opportunity to get in touch with customers and remind them of your services. Whether you have a party or you send out Christmas cards, letting them know you care will put you in their minds should they need your services again in the New Year. This can be a good way of drumming up repeat business, so don’t forget to contact those you might not have worked with in a while.
4. Opt for email over post
With all those Christmas cards and letters to Santa clogging up the post, delivery times at Christmas can be stretched. So, where possible, opt for email over post. This is particularly important when it comes to invoicing as any delays or lost letters give your customers an excuse to delay payment which can impact your cash flow.
5. Schedule payments
With so much to think about over the Christmas period and staff often taking holiday, it’s not uncommon for payments to be missed.The last thing you want is to start the New Year faced with final demand letters and late payment charges, so make sure you set up and authorise payments for all of your due bills. If your cash flow is stretched over the Christmas period, it could be beneficial to utilise specialist funding solutions to bridge the cash flow gap between paying suppliers and getting paid.
6. Take action on late payments
Nobody wants to start the New Year with a mountain of bad debt holding them back, so now is a good time to take action on late payments. If your internal resources are stretched over the festive period or you have some tricky debts to collect, outsourcing the task to a collections agency could help free up some resource in your company and give your customers that extra encouragement to pay.
7. Spread Christmas cheer
If you are staying open over the Christmas period it can be beneficial to spread some Christmas cheer in the office to keep productivity levels up. Decorating the office can give workers a boost. Just be careful not to go too overboard as this can be more of a hindrance than a help.
8. Reflect on your efforts
With 2018 fast approaching, it’s a good opportunity to reflect on your work over the last 12 months. Review your business performance and evaluate your procedures. What worked well for your business?What could you have done better? These questions will help you see what needs to be continued into the New Year and where there is room for improvement.
9. Reduce spending
Another area for reflection is where your money is going. Could you cut back? This blog on ways to save money offers tips that could help. And, if you’re shutting down for the Christmas period, don’t forget to turn off lights or power systems that don’t need to be running whilst you’re not there. Not only will it save you money, it’s good for the environment too.
10. Communicate your plans
With many businesses shutting down at some point over the Christmas period it’s important to communicate your plans with your customers so that they are aware of your opening hours. Also, don’t forget to ask your suppliers for their plans so you don’t have any unexpected surprises during the festive season. It’s a good idea to set up out-of-office replies which explain when you will be back and give emergency contact information in case something urgent needs your attention.
11. Get ahead of the game
There’s no reason why New Year’s resolutions need to start in January. By making them now you can get ahead of the competition and start 2018 with a bang. What are your biggest priorities that will have the most impact? Plan for these now and you’ll reap the rewards sooner.
12. Relax and enjoy!
One of the most important, but often overlooked, tips we can share is to remember to relax and have fun. So, turn on your out-of-office message, switch off your phone and go enjoy the festivities with your family. This way you’ll get to relax, rejuvenate and start 2018 feeling fresh and ready for the New Year ahead.