To reduce stress in your business, check off these 12 days of Business Christmas:
1. Annual Closedown
If you’re closing down over Christmas remember to give your staff at least 14 days’ notice and pay them for the public holidays that occur during a closedown.
2. Extra Staff
Busy in retail or hospitality? Take advantage of the influx in short-term labour; advertise as soon as possible. Casual staff still need employment agreements. Check www.dol.govt.nz for the agreement builder and the latest rules on pay rates.
Gift Giving & Business Entertainment: Staff Christmas functions are 50% tax deductible and staff/client gifts are 100% tax deductible (just keep the latter below $1,200 per year to avoid Fringe Benefit Tax).
4. Keeping it Open
If you’re staying open throughout the Christmas period plan your rosters well in advance. Don’t forget to organise someone to take on the “must-do” jobs like Payroll, clearing voicemail, banking cheques (usually done by business owners).
5. Tell Customers your Operating Hours
Make sure you do this clearly. Use this chance to stay top of mind with your customers; send a card, email, phone call or even advertise.
6. Managing Stock
Prepare a forecast of stock usage by looking at current year to date and historic sales records and interrogating your sales systems. Consider if there are any flexible stock fulfilment options available; consignment stock or supply at short notice.
7. Cash flow
Start planning your Christmas and New Year cash flow now so you’re not caught by surprise. Remember pre-Christmas you may have extra wages including holiday pay outs. December and January may see less work done and invoiced, and effects can flow on to February.
8. Bargains at the Sales
For some, Christmas = Sale. Consumers have come to expect Christmas specials that make their gift-giving dollar stretch as far as possible. Before you jump into the mix yelling “Me too!”, consider the impact of discounting on your profit and on your customers’ impressions of the value of your products and services. You don’t have to compete with the big market players on price. Doing this you will most likely lose both profit and reputation. Think about adding perceived value to your existing business, rather than just decreasing price.
9. Existing Customers
Christmas is a great time to thank your existing customers for their business. Send a promotion out to your client database, take some time to consider who your best customers are and look for opportunities how you can find more customers like them or upsell your products or services.
10. New Customers
The other side of the coin is new customers. What are you doing to attract new customers. Why should people buy from you instead of your competitors? What is your point of difference? Does your advertising reflect this? Are you doing enough advertising or any at all?
11. New Year’s Resolutions
Continuing on the planning streak. Reflect on the year that’s been, what you achieved, what changed. Are you where you thought you would be? Look ahead to 2016: where do you want to be in 12 months’ time? Set some goals and talk through them with your advisors and your staff. What will their contribution be?
12. Taking Time Out
Finally, make sure you take some time out! At the very least get out of your workplace and spend some time resting and doing what you enjoy. Turn your phone off, get away. If you need to keep an eye on things, Cloud systems like Xero allow you to monitor movements while out of the office.