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The small business owner’s holiday survival guide

3 December 2018 / By Desley Grant

It’s the end of another calendar year, let’s celebrate our successes! There were moments when it felt shaky, but you persevered. Congratulations to small businesses who’ve made it through. 

Of course, we're not out of the silly season (or rather, the holiday madness) just yet... In this blog, we’ll discuss how small businesses and owners can continue to survive, and thrive, over the holiday period.

Be prepared!
There’s no use hiding under the covers and refusing to bring out the Christmas decorations. The Christmas holidays are almost here, and it’s an opportunity you shouldn’t miss.

Customers are more active at this time of year, bringing more sales and more leads. While it is the Christmas rush, this isn't the only holiday you should have on your radar. Mark other significant holidays in your calendar, like Easter or Queens Birthday. Set up reminders so you can prepare seasonal goodness - and promote it in good time. 

Make sure your team has access to this calendar, so that you can factor in employee leave too.

It’s not just about cutting prices and making sales. It’s also about celebration! That can be hard to remember in amongst all the bustle and noise. 

Celebrate with your customers. Maybe that means festive decorations, maybe it means a social media post (or two). Consider giving gifts, whether it’s something small for every customer such as a bonus product or special deal, or more thoughtful gifts for your best customers. As this is the season of giving, you might find a way to support a local charity as well.

Plan and schedule your social media posts (there are apps like Hootsuite to help with this) and remember to use your smartphone to stay connected on the go. Draft and schedule your emails, whether they detail special products, promotions or holiday hours.

Block out some time this week to get started. Half an hour blocks work well to keep on top of organisation, so that your stress levels stay down.

Support your people
If you’re bringing new staff onboard for the season, check they’re up to the challenge. Ask prospective employees how they’ve keep their cool, shown initiative, and helped solve problems in previous holiday roles.

Look out for your existing staff, too. Prepare rosters well in advance and encourage employees to sort their leave early. Make sure everyone is onboard with changes to days and hours, and have backups in case someone can’t come in. 

If you’re planning some festive decorations, get your team involved. This can be a fun, team-building exercise that’ll lift everyone’s mood.

What to do about post-holiday blues

Once the silly season is over, there's often a slump in productivity as everyone tries to get back into the swing of things. Help your team and customers take on the New Year with these tips.

  • Keep up the cheer. Offer deals that only apply after the holidays. Run a fun contest on social media to increase customer engagement.

  • Turn regret around. For many, returns after Christmas are inevitable. Give customers excellent service so they’ll remember you for a good reason.

  • Show gratitude. Express appreciation for loyal customers with an exclusive deal, a thank-you event, or a personal gift. 

  • Follow up. Email new customers asking for feedback, or remind them to review online - send the link! Also let them know about your next product or promotion.

  • Look ahead. Get started with a new social media campaign or a product launch. You can tap into feelings about New Year’s resolutions and starting afresh. It’s also a good time to sort your budget for the year.

The holiday season is a prime opportunity to boost sales and customer engagement. Recall why you started your own business - it was to improve your lifestyle and opportunities in life, not to increase your stress!

That’s why we recommend you organise well in advance, so you can support your team and celebrate with your customers. Then, start the New Year on a high note.

Wishing you all happy holidays and business success!

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