How to get through Christmas

You’ve got a plan for flooding and cybercrime, but what about surviving Christmas?

In your home Christmas life, you need to learn how to survive sniping in-laws, unruly kids, that slightly racist uncle. There’s 24 hour shopping, traffic jams, spending 3 weeks with a spouse who may just be waiting till January to give you the flick. Rubbish Christmas cracker presents. There’s good stuff as well – family, time off…and maybe you want to break up with your spouse in the new year too. But either way, Christmas turns up the heat on all of our home lives.

It does the same in our businesses too. There are some unique business challenges during the Christmas period and you can save yourself a lot of pain if you get ready beforehand. Firstly, remember that Jesus said it is harder for a rich person to get into heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, so what are you doing trying to be an entrepreneur, you selfish, money hungry…nah, I kid, let’s go make some sweet cash.

Here’s our Christmas survival guide for your business.

Work Christmas into your budget.
Plan what you are going to have to pay in extra holiday wages, buying Christmas gifts for clients, funding your Christmas party and other Christmas expenses and put aside money for it every month. As I was taught as a kid, the universe wasn’t created in a random chaotic cosmic expansion of space-time…it was a planned 6-day work week. Don’t try to be better than the universe.

Choose better holiday hours.
Take into account staff wages, the needs of your customers and other operating costs and come up with a Christmas shut-down period that suits your business – rather than one that just follows the herd. Imagine if the inn that took in Mary and Joseph had been following standard Bethlehem trading hours. Would you be saved right now?

Adjust your invoicing.
Chasing clients for payment is hard at the best of times. Doing it while they’re in the middle of mass shopping, possibly drunk, explaining to their child why they can’t have an F15 for Christmas is near impossible. Work out when your clients are planning to shut down and make sure you leave plenty of time for them to pay what they owe before they take a break. If they work in Government, you’ll have to hit ‘em in October! Take that pollies! Except the ATO, you guys are great.

Thank and update your clients.
We all appreciate genuine acknowledgement. Thank the businesses that have helped you throughout the year. It doesn’t need to be expensive. It should just be personalized. Not creepy personalized, like an album of all the streets they’ve lived on.

But write a card. Shoot a mobile video. Buy them something you know they enjoy which they’ve mentioned throughout the year. Use that gesture as a chance to let your clients know what your closing hours will be and what they can do to reach you for emergency assistance during those times if they need to. That should cut down on unnecessary, let’s face it, annoying emails and phone messages during your breaktime.

Plan your inventory.
Have a look at what product lines and services sold the best during December last year and make sure you have the stock to meet that demand – whatever it might be. Easter Chocolate? Chinese New Year Lotus Cakes? Don’t fight the data.

Pay bonuses.
If you have some profits left over, use it to pay for staff vouchers they can spend on groceries or department store gifts. That will reduce your overall tax burden and allow your team (and you) to ease the financial burden of the Christmas period. As we know, Christmas is one of the most stressful times of the year and people make bad decisions when they’re stressed. You don’t want your staff being televised doing stupid s#%t in your staff uniform.

These are some of the tips we suggest to our clients to get them through Christmas. What are yours? Let us know in the comments below and give us a call if you need a hand getting ready for the holiday season.

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