Christmas is an interesting time for business. On one hand, for retailers and associated businesses this is one of the busiest times of the year and for others some will shut down for up to 4-6 weeks. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy – if you think you are going to be busy you gear up your business that way and if you think things are going to be quiet you start winding down. The reality is Christmas can be one of the most profitable and productive times for all businesses and here are some tips to make the most of the festive season…
1. Take time to Plan for the year ahead
How clear are you on your goals for 2009? The Christmas period is a great time to start. Do much more than simple ‘New Year Resolutions’. Set clear goals and create a solid action plan so you can hit the ground running and make 2009 your best year yet.
2. Force Staff to Take leave
It’s your business so you set the rules. Consider getting your staff to take leave at quieter times – it may work out better now than other peak times during the year. Roster your staff to ensure that you have the right number and mix of people to get things done right. Some businesses allow their standards to drop in the lead up to Christmas, using the “we’re just too busy to do …..” excuse. What they miss is that there just might be a new customer/client that has just used their business for the first time – what will their first impression of that business be?
3. When they zig you zag
Your competition will be thinking exactly the same as you. Often the way to get ahead in business is to do the opposite of what others are doing. If your competitors are all winding down how about being proactive and wind up with things like increased marketing or contact all your customers. You’ll be amazed at what business you could pick up plus continue to build valuable relationships with key customers.
4. Set Stretching Goals for your business
It is amazing what people can do when they are set a challenge. Rather than assume that the Christmas period will be quieter, go for producing the same output in the reduced time. Your business and bank account will be smiling as a result and even if they don’t achieve it 100%, I am sure you will be well ahead of where you could have been.
5. Make the Most of Networking opportunities
Christmas can be a great time for networking with lots of opportunities. Be selective with what events you go to and remember that it is called net–‘working’ not net-‘drinking’ or net-‘lunching’. Be purposeful and start building relationships that will serve you in the New Year.
6. Be Proactive around your cashflow
Be on top of collecting cash so your bank account is full going into Christmas. Start planning now and make sure you are on top of your game sending invoices and collecting cash in your business. Ensure you are paid prior to Christmas so you rest easy knowing you have some great cash reserves going into Christmas.
7. Work on your business
Use this time to do all the things you have been meaning to do such as upgrade your website, create new marketing materials, reorganise the workshop and clear out old assets. Start preparing your business so you hit the ground running in the New Year.
8. Say thank you
This is the ideal time to give your customers something to remember you by and above all for them to feel valued. Consider doing something different such as New Years cards / gifts instead of Christmas so you stand out from the rest. Remember to include your staff and suppliers – after all you can’t do business without them. A small gift to them can build the relationship and have them do that little bit extra for you when you need it.
9. Make sure you celebrate with the people who are important to you
Your family may have missed out over the year on many things but above all on the most valuable thing of all, YOUR TIME! Plan when and what you are going to do with them! Get your partner a gift that shows him/her that you have appreciated their support over the year. Have an extra gift or two at home so that if unexpected visitors arrive you’ve got something to give them.
The Christmas period can be one of the most productive times of the year… if you choose it.