It’s that time of year again! Everywhere you go, there are Christmas decorations, seasonal songs, and festive advertising. If you are really eager, some of you may already have put your Christmas tree up (no judgement here!).  But, while many employees are looking forward to their annual break away without much of a second thought, it isn’t quite so easy as a business owner. Here are The Assistant Quarters top tips to help you prepare for the final Christmas countdown. Just a little preparation will ensure you can enjoy the festivities AND keep your business ticking over!

 

Prepare

We all need to take time out, whether it be to recharge our batteries or to spend some much needed time with our loved ones.  There’s no better time to do it than at Christmas! Deciding and communicating when you are planning to shut down and reopen for business is important. The sooner you can do it, the better.  It lets your customers and clients know when you are going to be available & allows you time to prepare.

Spend some time getting a clear idea of when you can take time out. Then consider any temporary cover you may need or if you can run on skeleton staff (if you have a team in place).

If you have children that are breaking up from school for the holidays, make sure you have childcare sorted for the days that you still want to get some work done. Or, make sure your cover is fully briefed so that you can really switch off and enjoy the magic of Christmas. In an ideal world, this is the time of year when you really shouldn’t try and juggle both business and family at the same time!

 

Communicate

Now that you’ve decided when you will be shutting down for the Christmas period, you need to communicate it.  Update your website and social media so customers know when you’ll be closed.

If you sell products, it is also important to notify customers the last order date for a pre-Christmas delivery. You should also let them know when orders placed over the festive period will be processed (if you are intending to shut down completely).

If you provide services, it’s about managing the expectations of your clients and letting them know when you are available to them. Basically, be crystal clear and don’t leave things open to assumption! You might also want to plan in calls with your clients to wrap up the year, complete a review on how things have gone and chat to them about their own plans for the year ahead.

 

Christmas Marketing

Whether your business is busier or quieter during the Christmas period, some well thought out marketing can help give your business a boost.  Christmas provides a great opportunity to introduce a festive theme to your marketing, no matter what industry you are in!

If you are a B2B business, don’t forget that even though a lot of companies will be closed over the holiday season, they will still be spending time online.  Make sure you are still visible to them with your marketing.  Equally, if you sell to consumers, they will also be spending more time on social media, so don’t disappear!

Make plans for any Christmas cards/gifts that you want to send to clients well in advance and don’t leave it until the last minute!

 

Scheduling

It is important to plan & create your content for the festive period well in advance. Think about blog posts, email marketing and social media posts that you want to send in line with any special Christmas products or offers. Create your content in advance and be inventive! Consider sharing festive ‘behind the scenes’ photos or creating some fun visuals in Canva. You can then schedule your content to go out in your email marketing system or social media scheduler to keep your online presence up even when you are wrapping presents (see what we did there!).

 

Prepare for the New Year

As part of your planning to take time out, you also need to be prepared for the return to work in January.  Customers will expect business as normal.  Will you be able to smoothly ease back into a work schedule or will you be snowed under?  If you are likely to be up to your ears with emails, orders or an influx of work, are you able to prepare and outsource some of the work to help ease you back in?  Even having some support at the very beginning of January will help you to get back to business as normal, but meeting your customers’ expectations at the same time.

 

2018 Planning

Now, if you are likely to have the odd quiet day (whether you are putting your Out of Office on or not), Christmas is a great time to start planning for the year ahead.  It isn’t just the Christmas countdown you need to think about, but also the countdown to the New Year!  If you get to December and haven’t yet considered your goals or budgets for the following year, try and carve out some time to put some thoughts on paper. If you wait until January you will lose precious weeks of focus and clarity on the direction you want your business to take.

Think about new products or services that you want to launch and make sure you build a framework for your year ahead so that you can consider key dates, events that you want to go to and goals that you want to set yourself. There’s lots more advice online to help with goal setting.

 

Winter Clear Out

Getting ready for the New Year is a perfect time to have a clear out for your business.  You can tidy your desk, have a clear out of emails, get up to date with your filing or have a cull through your social media groups to help you hit the ground running after the festivities. With GDPR changes due to come in next year, it could also be a good time to review your CRM and mailing lists to ensure you are compliant as you move into the New Year.

 

Take Time Out After The Christmas Countdown

It is so important to take time out of your business, even for just a short amount of time.  It helps to reset your mentality, give your body a break, adjust your focus, but above all, it allows you to spend time with those dear to you, and let’s face it, they are probably the reason why you started your business in the first place. The ability to call the shots about when and how you work is one of the great benefits of running your own business, so make the most of it and enjoy!

Need help to manage the busy period?

If you’re on the Christmas countdown and need help to prepare (or to put support in place so you can take a break), we’d love to chat. 

Call us on 0208 064 1969 or book in for a discovery call to chat about your options.

Prefer email? Ours is enquiries@theassistantquarters.co.uk