If you have ventured out into the shops in the last few weeks, you may have noticed that those sparkly green and red decorations are starting to appear on the shelves. Before you know it, Xmas songs will be blasting from the radio, tinsel will be dripping from ceilings, and Xmas trees will be for sale on the side of the road.
As a small business owner, you are hopefully way ahead of the game and have started planning for the end of year madness already. If not, you better hop to it because time is ticking!
Whether you have a retail business that needs to gear up for a holiday sales rush or a service business that might see a downturn in revenue towards the end of the year, with the right planning and preparation, you can get through unscathed; popping out the other side fresh and rearing to go in the New Year.
Take a deep breath, grab yourself a pen and paper, and start making a list and checking it twice!
Sort Out Your Staffing
Staffing takes the Xmas cake for the most time-consuming, yet vital, aspect to successful year-end planning. If your business grinds to a halt in the festive season, it may make sense to shut down during that time. Closing your doors will save on business overheads, yes, but keep in mind that you still need to cover staff costs on a reduced revenue. Sort those budgets well ahead of time, so you don’t head into the new year with a deficit.
If the silly season is your busiest time of year, it pays to be aware of, and plan for, the fact that your staff are likely to want time off. Ensure you have enough hands-on-deck to cover the rush. If you need to hire new staff, make sure you budget for training now so that you can get them up to speed well ahead of time. Getting the induction and training sorted means your new staff member/s will be able to cope with what can be a stressful, crazy time of year in retail.
The end of the year is an excellent time to consider casual or contract staff, or if you’re a one-man-band, it is the prime time for outsourcing. Getting rid of all those time-consuming admin tasks means you can focus on generating revenue for the most expensive time of the year. #smartbusiness
Marketing + Promotions
Even if you are not a fan of Xmas yourself, you are up against the vast majority of the population who go ga-ga for it. Failing to capitalise on this season of giving can put you far behind your competition.
If you have a physical shop, pimp it out with decorations and festive cheer. If you have an online website you can still decorate, you need to theme your site accordingly. Don’t forget to get promoting special end-of-year deals well ahead of time and remember to advise your customers of any cut-off dates for ordering and guaranteed delivery.
In the world of retail, Xmas is the perfect time to attract new customers and grow your business. There is often a bit of a retail slump early in the New Year, so doing well in sales while things are HOT will cover that low period.
Marketing is one of those things that can slip away at this busy time as you focus on other aspects. Thankfully, it is an easy thing to outsource! (If you want to make this year your biggest festive season yet, let us help you with the social media promotions and emails. The Virtual Assistants team are your Xmas elves, and we have your back, Santa-pants!)
Triple Check Your Stock
Once you’ve got your budgets and Xmas/New Year marketing plan sorted, you need to make sure you can meet the expected demand. Order stock early, because many suppliers may shut down over the holidays. That means having not only enough products on the shelf but also stocking up on basics like packaging, courier bags, till receipt rolls, stationery – all the basics to keep your business in operation if your supplier is closed for 2+ weeks!
Assess Your Success
The end of the year is the perfect time to take a snapshot of your business. Did you exceed or fall short of your goals this year? Is everything going as you had hoped, or do you need to adapt your business plan? What can you do better or differently next year? Where would you like your business to be this time next year? Please make a note as it is easy to forget how the end of the year went as the next year rolls on.
Virtual Assistants know it can be stressful trying to juggle business and personal commitments during the holidays. If you take time to sit down and have a good, long look at your goals, breaking them down into achievable chunks and forging ahead, it eases the load.
You know what else eases the load? Getting those annoying tasks off your plate! After all, who has time to clear emails and send a newsletter when you are frantically packing orders or trying to meet client deadlines?
Let us take some of the stress away so that you can focus on what you do best. If you need some help or cover for this silly season, then get in touch with Virtual Assistants today!