Now is a good time to start planning to ensure that this Christmas is a good one for you and your small business. But what key tasks should you take care of?
1. Consider your customers
If your business is shutting down over Christmas and New Year, give your customers plenty of notice. Remind them closer to the time, too, and give them exact times and dates.
• Visit the Marketing Donut website for information about managing customer relationships.
2. Think about suppliers
If you’re having a shutdown, cancel all deliveries in good time and let your suppliers know when you’ll be open again.
• Find out how to manage supplier relationships [**Link to new Sage guide to supplier management**].
3. Organise staff leave
If you’re staying open throughout most of Christmas and New Year, staff might still want some time off. Lessening the impact on your business takes careful planning. If you’re closing, write to staff to let them know the last day they will need to work, and when you expect them to return.
• Visit the Law Donut website to find out about employee holiday entitlement rules.
4. Recruit temporary staff
The run-up to Christmas and the weeks that follow might be a busy time for your business. If you need to take on temporary staff to cope with increased demand, leave yourself plenty of time. Also think about their training needs.
• Visit the Acas website for advice on how to recruit temporary staff.
5. Plan a seasonal sale
Whether you sell online or offline, holding a pre-Christmas sale could help you to attract new customers or turn surplus stock into cash, while holding a New Year sale could help you to get off to a flying start in 2017.
• Visit the bira website for top tips on creating a festive window display.
6. Consider your cash flow
Whether you’re planning to continue to trade or shut up shop, you can’t afford to ignore your cash flow. Crunch the numbers to make sure you have enough cash to cover your seasonal outgoings.
• Download our free guide to cash flow management.
7. Test your premises security
Carry out a security risk assessment, paying particular attention to locks on all external doors and windows. Also test your alarm (if in doubt, call out an engineer). Remove anything outside your premises that might help a criminal to break in, such as ladders, bricks, etc.
• Visit the Start Up Donut website for information on premises security.
8. Think about IT and data security
If you’re shutting down for Christmas, you also need to think about your IT systems. How safe are they from online attacks and physical theft? Data should be backed up and stored safely (securely online is best).
• The Get Safe online website provides advice for businesses about IT security.
9. Organise your staff do
Christmas is the season to be jolly, of course. So, if you’re planning a staff night out, book early to avoid disappointment. Reminding staff of acceptable conduct on work nights out can help to avoid problems.
• Acas also offers advice on how to avoid common Christmas party pitfalls.
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