For small business owners in New Zealand, the holiday season can mean balancing the pressure of finishing off the year’s business, a final check in with your business mentor, and trying to do it all with composure while you enjoy family and friends. And that’s after a rollercoaster year! Here are some ideas to savour the spirit of the season while keeping business buoyant.
The holiday season means different cashflow patterns, so plan ahead. Check if there are any normal expenses you should adjust. Will you need to order more stock? Could you give the cleaners a break? Your suppliers will appreciate an early warning – especially if they’re fellow small businesses. Remember those that owe you money. As a small business, your livelihood depends on being paid on time. It’s helpful to get in touch before people head off for the break. Make sure debtors have what they need to process your payments.
Will you need to adjust your staffing over the holiday period? Ensuring you're meeting your obligations to employees for leave and holidays is essential. This includes giving employees at least 14 days’ notice before an annual close down, and giving 14 days’ notice if employees must take annual leave. You can read more about your obligations in this guide.
If you’re heading away from your office, it’s worth checking on practical things like security and out-of-office settings for emails. Make it clear when people should expect to hear from you, and what they can do for something urgent. Your insurer will also be happy to review policies and make sure they’re up-to-date.
We've worked hard to keep one another safe in 2020, so let's keep it up as the year draws to a close. If you’re going to hold team social events, be a responsible host. This includes the usual things such as making sure food is available with any alcohol. This year, you may also want to make masks available if people need to take public transport to or from a venue. Santa-beard masks anyone?
Look after your own wellbeing and that of your team; this can be a busy and stressful time of year for everyone. If you’re working flat out, simply taking a moment to thank your team can help lift energy levels. Recognise the year’s wins; they’ve all been hard-earned. Acknowledge your own success and resilience too.
During the busy season, it can be difficult to step back and see the big picture. A Business Mentor is a great person to help you do this. Business Mentors will be making their own plans for the holidays, so be sure to respect their time. Agree on how much you’ll stay in touch. If your Business Mentor is available to you over the summer holidays, don’t underestimate the value they can offer. Business Mentors can help you take a broad view and keep clarity.
Get into the spirit
When you’ve put everything in place for the season, you can focus on making the most of it! For some businesses, the holidays are frantic with promotions and specials. It can be exhausting, but profitable. If this is the case in your industry, then allow yourself and your team to have fun with it. How can you bring your favourite part of Christmas to your work? You’re bound to find a team member who loves decorating the tree or putting together a playlist with some seasonal flair.
It can be rewarding to find your own style of doing business at this time of year. Rather than launch into a sales campaign like others, you may find it more valuable to simply thank your customers or clients. Let them know your hours over the break, but don’t feel you have to swamp them with the same old holiday messages. Different cultures celebrate the holiday season in different ways, so consider your target market when you make your plans.
The holiday season is a special time in New Zealand, and this year will be no different. As a nation, we all deserve to acknowledge that 2020 has been a tough journey. Business owners have faced particular challenges, and they deserve particular recognition. Celebrate your successes and take a moment for yourself; you’ve earned it.