Small business Christmas survival guide
With the Christmas season now upon us, how prepared is your business? There are many extra demands, especially for those in the retail industry, from staff holidays to supplier closures, the impact could be significant in your small business.
Having robust plans for the festive season could make all the difference to your company having a prosperous trading period. Here’s your small business Christmas survival guide:
Offers and sales
Thanks to events such as Black Friday, consumers now expect businesses to provide money-saving offers or sales on their products or services in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Have you planned to provide any discounts for your customers? Do you even know what offers may be attractive to prospective clients or what is your most purchased service? Where do you make the most profit – is there margin for a lower price?
Use your key performance indicators to analyse the data you have collected over the last year, specifically last December, if available. Look for trends and what sold well during the festive period. The data will help you identify what kind of promotions are most likely to drive up sales and allow you to order any additional stock that may be needed.
However, just because other businesses are offering a discount does not mean that you should. You may already beat them on price or offer a better service. If a promotion is not going to benefit your business or prevent you from making the amount of profit you need then carefully consider whether it is going to be of any value.
If traditionally you offer a discount in January and this has performed well for you in the past, then it may not be wise to have an offer running pre-Christmas if it will erode the expected New Year sales.
Dealing with Christmas stress
If your business is one that sees a significant upturn in sales during December, then you may find yourself becoming increasingly stressed while coping with the extra demand. Consider what measures you need to put in place to manage your own wellbeing.
Could you utilise technology to help you manage stock levels more effectively or allow you to access your system remotely? Perhaps you could work from home to relieve some of the pressure you feel when onsite but still be able to stay in contact with the day to day running of the company.
The festive season can play havoc with your company’s working hours. How long will you close the business for, if at all? Will you allow for any annual leave to be taken by staff in December? If you do have to remain open over the Christmas period, how will you decide which members of staff work Christmas Day? Will you offer monetary incentives or time off in lieu?
Anticipate the demands that will be placed on the business and plan your working hours well in advance, ensuring you communicate this well to all employees as well as customers.
If you do close for an extended time over Christmas and New Year, then ensure you set those out of office notifications on email and update the opening hours information on your website and social media.
Inevitably your suppliers will also have amended working hours during this time. Ensure you know what these are and get your order in well ahead of when you need it. If your supplier also has an increase in demand at this time of year, it may take them longer than usual to process your request. Check what their lead time on delivery will be and adjust your processes accordingly.
Running a business is a time-consuming role and the festive season only adds to your workload. Being prepared and having plans in place will ease the extra demand that December brings. Keep your team in the loop also, if they know what to do when the business is extremely busy you will be able to relax and let them take some of the strain.
Clear processes allow everyone in the company to be empowered and take action, meaning you can all enjoy the fun of the season along with increased profits for the company.
If you found this information useful you may also want to check out the following:
MRA help individuals, businesses and families achieve the best quality of life they can with the resources they have. MRA specialise in corporate solutions, cash-flow analysis, taxation, debt management, savings and investments, lifestyle planning and much more.
Business Consultants based in East Sussex we service clients across the South East, Sussex and Kent, including smaller towns such as Ashford, Battle, Bexhill, Bodiam, Brighton & Hove, Cranbrook, Crowborough, Eastbourne, Hailsham, Hastings, Heathfield, Herstmonceux, Lewes, Mayfield, Newhaven, Rye, Seaford, Sevenoaks, Tenterden, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.