While some people may be complaining that Christmas advertising has started before we even reach December, for UK small businesses, it’s already time to get thinking about the festive season. Here are our five top tips for the run up to December 25.
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1. Get prepared
This step may seem like a given, but it’s easy to let time slip away - suddenly it’s mid-December and you haven’t prepared.
For some small businesses, Christmas can be the busiest time of the year, while others may find that things quieten down in the run up to the new year. Whichever it is for yours, you need to plan accordingly - especially when it comes to finances.
If you know money is going to be tight over the coming months, make sure you put off any non-essential spending until things start picking up again. Remember you’ll need to pay your tax return at the end of January, if you haven’t already, so keep money back for that.
On the other hand, if you’re expecting Christmas to be one of your busiest periods, you’ll need to make sure you have the resources to meet demand - whether that’s time, staff members, products or anything else.
2. Think about your Christmas marketing
Whether Christmas proves busier or quieter than usual, some well thought out marketing can help give your business a boost - and help you plan around when you’re most likely to have clients or customers.
Christmas provides plenty of opportunities for themed marketing events, no matter what kind of business you run. Pick something that works for you and your target audience to make the most of the festive season.
3. Plan staffing
Inevitably, people want to take time off over Christmas. Whether you have a number of employees or work entirely on your own, you need to plan around holiday time.
One solution is to simply close over Christmas. If you’re not going to be particularly busy then shutting up shop for a few days might be the easiest way of doing things.
Alternatively, you could take on temporary staff while your permanent ones are away. This does, however, come with the additional cost of both their salary and training, but if you’re going to lose more money by closing then this might be the best option for you.
It’s also worth remembering that you’re legally required to take out employers’ liability insurance if you take on staff - even if they’re only temporary.
Whatever you decide, make sure you communicate with your customers well in advance - that way they won’t be annoyed when they find they can’t get hold of you around Christmas.
4. Be vigilant
The run-up to Christmas is a notoriously bad time of year for thefts. In 2016, tradesmen were more likely to have their tools stolen in the autumn and winter months, but thieves can target anyone.
Whether you work from a computer or have a spare room full of stock, you need to be particularly careful at this time of year. Keep your valuables locked away, when possible, and keep your eye on them when not.
Want to know more? Check out our tips for keeping your business safe over the Christmas period.
5. Check your insurance
Finally, before you start your Christmas trading, it’s worth checking your insurance.
By selling more or taking on more clients, it may mean that your insurance needs updating to reflect your new circumstances, so make sure you take a look over your policy wording.
Looking for self-employed insurance?
With Simply Business you can build a single self employed insurance policy combining the covers that are relevant to you. Whether it’s public liability insurance, professional indemnity or whatever else you need, we’ll run you a quick quote online, and let you decide if we’re a good fit.