Christmas Preparation Tips for SMBs

This time of year can present various challenges for businesses. To ensure you’re prepared we’ve put together a list of tips to see you through to 2016…

An increased volume of orders, end of year reports, planning for the year ahead, along with a workforce simultaneously taking annual leave over the festive period can affect your business’ ability to operate effectively. Therefore, it is important to identify potential issues and take appropriate action to ensure minimum impact on your business. Here are some key considerations…

Allow your workforce to work remotely

Bad weather can cause resourcing issues, so if a physical presence isn’t required for your workforce to carry out their role, you should take measures to enable them to work remotely. This might involve providing them with a device to access your business systems and data or enable them to utilise their own devices, with a BYOD strategy. By enabling employees to collaborate and communicate from home they will remain productive, even if they get snowed in.

Chase invoices ahead of time

Customer closures over the festive period can affect your cash flow, which is why it is important to chase invoices in advance of their due date to ensure payments will be received on time. To help manage this and save vital time, there are credit control systems available which automate some of the process, such as Credit Hound. It has a unique automated “self-chase” feature, which allows you to chase 60+ customers in the same time it would take to chase six using manual methods.

Manage annual leave effectively

To maintain operations and customer service levels you will need sufficient resource over the holiday season. For some businesses this may mean recruiting temporary staff, for others it might mean operating with a skeleton workforce. To help manage leave, remind staff of their remaining holiday entitlement months in advance, rather than waiting for the rush to use them before they lose them, and share holiday schedules with your team to discourage staff from requesting the same dates. Added to this, be sure to implement an annual leave policy that specifies whether holiday can be taken over Christmas, if it’s compulsory to take leave or if it can be carried over from one year to the next.

Communicate with customers, don’t just disappear

Notify your customers and prospects of any company closures well in advance, along with when business will return to normal. Send out emails, update your website and social media channels with details of how they’re able to contact you and how service will be affected, as it will help to set their expectations during this time.

Enjoy the festivities

Don’t be a Grinch this Christmas. In taking steps to prepare your business for every eventuality over the holidays, don’t lose sight of what this time of year is all about. A little bit of Christmas cheer can quickly spread, and will help motivate your workforce and delight customers.

Also read our blog post, New Year’s Resolutions For Business Success