While people may take to social media snorting in disgust at Christmas supplies starting to appear on the shelves, you can NEVER plan ahead too early for the holiday season as far as your business goes. I admit that I’m one of those people who cringe when they see Christmas cards appearing on our shelves even before the US celebrates Thanksgiving but, honestly, wouldn’t you rather take some time off to be with family knowing your business will continue to function without you, instead of worrying about what’s happening to it?
Preparation is essential
Just as you might write a card/gift list, or schedule time in your calendar to attend festive celebrations and go gift shopping, so too, scheduling the things that you need to do ahead of time to ‘holiday-proof’ your business pays off in the long run. Make a date NOW to sit down and write a list of all that you need to do before the holidays start.
If, like me, you live in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s even more important because of our extended Summer school holiday period. Even if your business doesn’t sell things that may create a rush of demand in those months, you’ll still have to cater for other businesses who may be busier than usual or who may shut down over the holiday period.
Don’t just make vague plans, schedule specific tasks for specific days and times to ensure they get done.
Starting to Plan
To get you started with your planning, here’s a list of stuff you may want to think about:
- Do you need extra staff to cater for busy periods?
- Are your staff required to take holidays over the festive season because your business shuts down or runs on skeleton staff?
- Are relief staff employed to man the phones, tend to enquiries from your website/social media, or even just check to ensure everything's running smoothly while you’re off having a well deserved break with your loved ones?
- If you need to employ new/relief staff, when and where will you start advertising for them? Where and when will you conduct interviews? What kind of training will you give them? How much are you prepared to pay them? Do you have a job description or list of duties already made up?
Your Business Hours
- Is your business shutting down completely and, if so, for how long?
- How much notice are you going to give your clients and prospective customers about your holiday period?
- What process will that involve?
- If you’re reducing your hours, when will you be open and who is working those hours? Do you need to assign shifts to various staff so that you all get time off?
- How will you let your clients/customers know about your change in hours?
- Do you need to notify them on:
- Your website?
- Your social media sites?
- In yours and the email signatures of your staff?
- Do you need to mark yourself as unavailable in your scheduling calendar?
Your Contact Points
- Do you need to let people know about your holiday arrangements on your website?
- On your blog?
- Via your social media accounts?
- Via your newsletter?
- A sign on your door or a message on your phone?
- Via your email signature?
- Have you included what day and time you will re-open for business?
- Have you included instructions on what to do in an emergency, if this is appropriate for your business?
Prioritising your first week back
- Have you made plans in terms of what will take precedence the first week you’re back from holidays?
- How will you fit this in with your regular work?
Start thinking and you can see why the sooner you start to plan for the holiday season, the better. Do this once and it becomes a system for planning whenever you need it.
Putting systems in place allows you to streamline on an ongoing basis and makes your life SO much easier! Of course, it always helps to have an objective observer take a look to see if you have all of your bases covered, and to assist you in implementing your plan.
We’re here to help! Whether you need extra staff to cover for you in any capacity, or just an extra pair of eyes to make sure you haven’t missed anything, contact us to discuss how we can help! Most of all, set things up so that you can relax and enjoy, and arrive back at work fully prepared to make the new year your very best ever!