Women In Business

11 Things every business should action before christmas

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Sadly (or joyfully) Christmas is already almost upon us.  Seriously where did this last year go?  Here are some quick, timely and relevant reminders for every business to check out and be sure to action before they close for the Christmas holidays.

1. Arrange parties

Whilst partying may not be the top priority of your business list of things to do, I can assure you that your staff (and even contractors) are hanging out for some Christmas cheer.  Honestly, I believe employees are working harder now than they ever did.  Expectations are high, so when it comes to year end, don’t forget to show appreciation to your team.  Ensure you’ve arranged something by now and be sure to discuss it with your accountant.  I say this because most options either have FBT associated with them OR it’s not tax deductible.  If you haven’t already organised, get cracking!

2. Organise your Xmas closure

For some businesses closing, they are 100% closed.  All you need to remember is to alert your customer, perhaps even update your website, set automatic responders on emails (don’t forget to turn them off) and update your phone messages to include the date you are returning.  For some businesses, they don’t want to give the appearance of being completely closed up, so they may enlist a phone answering service.  Again, they will need to be engaged, given spiels and instructions, so also get cracking on this soonest.  If you are operational, but using a skeleton crew, then ensure that you’re covered for some important tasks such as payroll or paying critical bills, such as rent, telephone or monthly suppliers due 31st December.  Be organised and plan well in advance.

3. Plan your finances

As a business coach (with a strong finance background), I am always reminding clients to plan and prepare for low seasons.  If you’re closed for several weeks over Christmas, then you should have begun planning for this last February to get savings occurring.  Your budgets should reflect larger profits for the 10 months leading up and your savings account growing.  Whatever industry you are in, there are often highs and lows which you should know and be prepared for.  Budgets, cash flow statements and savings account will be invaluable.  Where possible, plan to have large expenses not occur during traditionally quiet times.  If your annual insurance falls in December, you most often can change it – talk to your insurance company or broker.  That’s just one example … with a bit of forward planning you can cover most things.

4. Thank clients & staff

Where it’s gift or Christmas cards, you should be planning how you will thank your customers and staff.  Don’t forget (many do) your awesome suppliers.  If an exceptional supplier has made working with your customers exceptional, then show your appreciation.  Not only to be thankful but to assure that exceptional service will continue to flow into the New Year.  Remember, few businesses acknowledge suppliers, so you will stand out if you do.

5. Get in the spirit

Now is the time to get the Christmas decorations out and ensure they are in good condition and start putting them up.  Ensure you adhere to Workplace Health & Safety – lights are safe and nothing will fall or trip people.  Be respectful too of anyone whose religion excludes Christmas; they don’t need Christmas baubles all over their desk.  On that subject, if you have staff who don’t believe in Christmas, that doesn’t mean everyone else needs to miss out – however, take a slightly different angle.  A Christmas Party may be called a Year End Celebration.  If you are doing Secret Santa, perhaps do that first up, and indicate to the other staff they are welcome or they can come at XX time when it will be over and the general party or lunch is commencing.

8. Be organised at home too

For most business owners they also have a life / family / kids … so ensure everything is organised on those fronts.  Do kids have vacation care organised?  Have you organised your Christmas ham and planned Christmas day / parties and done your shopping (don’t leave that till the 24th when the stores are mayhem and stock is depleted).  If you want to get your hair or nail done, book well in advance because those appointments will go quickly.

7. Plan your next round of holidays

I know from decades of helping Aussie business owners, many business owners do not get enough holidays.  Half the problem is time to organise.  Travel Agents can do a lot for you, but now, if it’s a little quiet, is a great time to sit down, think about and schedule in holidays for the next year.  If you are travelling away, give the task for a Travel Agent or Travel Manager (I know a couple of great ones) who do all the work and often due to their buying power, cost less than on the internet.  Remember too, your time is worth money, so spending 10 hours online to save $50 just doesn’t make good money sense.

8. Update internal calendars, schedules, lists or templates

This is the time (especially January) when it’s good to update all your repetitive documents.  Your list of staff and their phone extensions has probably been manually scratched out; get it updated and reprinted.  Standard templates probably could do with a refresh.  Your online listings should be rechecked and refreshed.  Your website should be checked and updated constantly (Google loves fresh new content) but if you haven’t done it for a while, then schedule it in now.  Ditto for your LinkedIn profile or other social media profiles.

9. Schedule cleaning, renovations now

When it’s quieter or you are closed, this is a great time to schedule maintenance.  Get those air conditions cleaned, the carpets shampooed, pest control actioned and any minor or major renovations.  If you’re replacing the carpets, when things are quiet is a perfect time to clear the desks, get tradespeople in and do it.  Remember though, some trades close down, so you will absolutely have needed to pre-plan this.  Maybe it’s something to consider for Christmas 2019 if it’s a major activity and you’ve not organised it by now.

10. Remember those less fortunate

With all this, we’re talking about parties, presents, profit, cash flow … but what about those less fortunate who have no money, probably won’t get gifts and certainly won’t be attending lovely parties with delicacies and champagne?  Remember those less fortunate – whether it be helping a charity with the donation of time or making a financial donation.  Whilst there are many in need overseas, there are still many in need within Australia – so as you plan to have a spectacular Chrissie – please consider those less well-off.

11. Plan for an exceptional next year

I couldn’t let this one pass as this is a service I provide and see such great value come out of.  Business Planning & Goal Setting can be done any time of the year, but yearend is a perfect time to plan for the upcoming year to ensure its success.  Success doesn’t occur due to luck – but rather happens from planning, hard work and wise advice.  If you’d like to know more about my planning sessions, give me a call on 0411 622 666 – I’d love to help.

Finally, wishing you a safe and wonderful Christmas and very prosperous New Year!

About Donna Stone

Donna Stone is a business coach with three decades of experience. She grew her own business from a garage to be a multi-award winning operation that spanned five locations nationally. Donna works with business owners and other business coaches, consultants and trainers to help them build their own success. Her Coach the Coach ™ program has proved exceedingly popular. Donna is a prolific writer with hundreds of articles written and six books published. Visit www.donna-stone.com.au

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