Getting Your Small Business Set For Christmas
It may be tempting to just drop tools on your last day before the holidays, but failing to prepare could leave your business exposed
For many, Christmas is a fantastic time of year. It gives people an opportunity to forget about their day-to-day stresses, relax and spend some well-deserved time with their family. However, in order to fully relax, you need to rest knowing that your business is all set up and prepared for the festive period.
It would be lovely if come 5pm on our last working day in December we could all just get up from our desks, go home and forget about our jobs until early January. Unfortunately it’s not that simple.
The Christmas period takes preparation and planning. It’s imperative that each business puts the correct procedures in place before employees abandon the workplace and venture home to spend a prolonged period of time with their loved ones.
There are a number of things to take into account in the build up to Christmas; ranging from leave and return dates, marketing and customer contact.
By following these simple steps you’ll be able to make sure your business is fully set to tackle the Christmas period.
Right, first things first; what work needs completing before you finish for Christmas? The theme of this article is planning, and that’s exactly what you’ll have to do here. It’s no good getting yourself all excited about Christmas before realising that you’ve got some work due before the turn of the year.
It’s always a good idea at the beginning of the month to plan out what needs to be finalised by the end of that month, this is even more important in December as you’ll routinely have one week less than usual to accomplish this.
It doesn’t matter what job role you’re in; director or apprentice, it’s important to make sure you’re all caught up before you leave for Christmas, otherwise enjoying the festive period won’t be quite so easy.
Again, this is fairly simple and obvious but sometimes overlooked by businesses. The Christmas period is a great time to ensure all customers are up to date with their payments; as well as making sure you’re up to date with yours.
Many people like to start the year with a clean slate, so prompting for outstanding payments before the turn of the New Year is a good idea as it will help avoid confusion when everybody returns to work. Getting these payments in prior to the New Year can also mean you start back in early January with a healthy looking business account, which is always good for morale, (especially that of the business owner).
A mistake that many businesses make is that they become dormant over Christmas. Just because employees aren’t at their desks, it doesn’t mean that a business can’t function; it doesn’t mean that a business can’t interact with their customer and prospects.
There’s a plethora of platforms these days that allow us to schedule content. Be it something as simple as a tweet wishing your followers a Merry Christmas, or something more complicated such as an email campaign to raise awareness of your New Year offer, this is easily achievable.
Although employees won’t want to hear this, it’s important that all businesses have somebody willing to deal with urgent issues over the Christmas period. This doesn’t necessarily mean somebody needs to be sitting their in-front of a laptop whilst trying to tuck into their Christmas turkey. But there should be a member of the team available to respond to urgent enquiries or issues during what would be normal office hours over Christmas.
Out of Office:
Out of office emails, voicemail and call forwarding. For those businesses lucky enough to have in-house IT support this shouldn’t be an issue. For those who don’t have in-house IT support this could be slightly trickier.
Setting your out of office emails should be easy enough; you’ll usually be able to find this within the settings of your Outlook, Gmail, or other email platform.
Voicemails can sometimes cause a bit of confusion and confrontation within a business. Do you set a personal voicemail on your extension, or just run one voicemail message across the whole business. For the purpose of consistency and avoiding contrasting messages I’d always opt for the ‘across the board’ voicemail message.
Here’s a really brief example of a Christmas voicemail script that could be used.
“Hi, thank you for call <MY BUSINESS>, we’re currently away from the office until 3 January however if your call is regarding something urgent then please get in touch with us by (details of your emergency contact). If your call is not urgent then please send us an email or leave a message and we’ll respond to you upon our return.
We hope you have a lovely time over the holidays and look forward to speaking with you in the New Year.”
Let your customers know what’s happening within your business. It’s advisable to send out a blanket email to all customers letting them know when you’ll be closed for Christmas. Keep the email short and concise.
Make sure that the details of your on-cover staff are included within the email; however do state that these measures are in place for emergencies only.
Take down the office Christmas decorations:
Nobody wants to come into the office on January 3 to now outdated Christmas decorations. It’s definitely a good idea to take these decorations down before everybody leaves the workplace. The afternoon of the final day before you break up is often a good idea as it gives staff a chance to wind down before heading home.