November 15, 2017 / Lizzie Sullivan
Imagine Christmas turkey without cranberry sauce, presents without the wrapping paper, a tree without lights, your wonderfully decorated table without the centre piece. Would Christmas be the same without these small details? Sometimes it’s the small things that can make a big difference. Without the little details the big events wouldn’t happen. They may not appear super sexy or fun, but they are an essential part of the event, and without, the event wouldn’t be the same.
With only 7 weeks to Christmas day, you should have some idea where you will be going for Christmas dinner, what presents to buy. And with your business I’m sure you will have things covered to maximise your sales during this period. Such as sales and marketing plans in place, products and services packaged, bundled, ready to be sold, staff trained and waiting to serve. But what about the other things, those things like the cranberry sauce, that compliment your business and without them, your business wouldn’t operate.
To be sure that nothing gets missed put time aside to go over your plans to ensure that you haven’t missed anything. Sounds obvious but it’s not so simple when you are overwhelmed with making sales and taking money to take a step back to review. We can all become side tracked but to maximise your business during this time it is essential.
- Pay close attention to all your company’s financial elements in the run up to Christmas – ensure that you don’t miss any legal deadlines. HMRC won’t stop knocking just because you are busy making money.
- Be sure to keep track of all spending by keeping receipts – there are plenty of online systems available to help with this process.
- Ensure that you keep on top of sending out and paying invoices – overlooking unpaid invoices whilst you are busy in December could impact your bottom line in January.
- Don’t leave the VAT or the tax return to the last minute – your mind will be much clearer if you get these done sooner rather than later.
- You may have invested in temporary staff to help during this time – ensure that you have the right staff through the right channels. Now is not the time to cut corners, you need to keep your business legal.
- Show your staff appreciation by throwing them a Christmas party – a great way to say thank you for their hard work – it doesn’t have to be extravagant or outrageous, but give them a party that they want.
- Christmas bonuses aren’t always viable – if you usually give one them but can’t this year then tell your staff early. If you can’t give a monetary bonus, then perhaps consider letting them go early or give them time off to go shopping.
- Christmas working hours need to be determined and confirmed – to stop anxiety and fights breaking out in the office organise a rota and give staff notice so they can organise themselves.
- Be extra vigilant as Cyber criminals will use this time to heavily target your business.
- Republish your companies Internet policy to all staff – ensure that everyone is clear about what they should and shouldn’t do to safeguard your business.
- Ensure that all your antivirus systems are current and up to date.
- Have a go-to in place just in case you experience any problems that could take down your systems.
- You could be expecting to see an increase in sales in the lead up to Christmas. Utilise Social media, your website and other promotions such as Black Friday to help boost these sales.
- Place Christmas themed filters onto your website and social media content to show that your business is in the festive mood.
- Ask yourself how you plan to respond to the possible increase of emails, customer queries and complaints during this time, have a plan in place if your need extra help. An angry customer is unlikely to return next year.
- Christmas cards – don’t leave these to the last minute, it’s a great way to thank customers and suppliers and cement relationships for the coming year.
Over the next 6 weeks we will be looking at certain areas that go hand and hand with Christmas and running a business. Christmas cards, Christmas Parties, Supporting Charities, utilising online Promotions to increase sales (such as Black Friday), Getting your Accounts ready for 2018 and New Year Resolutions for your business – helping you to set goals that could propel your business into the New Year. Finally, ways to look back on your year and asses what you could have done better to help leave regrets and mistakes behind.
Remember Christmas is the perfect time to expand and grow your business, but you will also want to find the time to enjoy the festivities with friends and family.
Next week: An in-depth look at Christmas Cards – Do businesses still send them? What do you need to consider when sending them?