As we approach Christmas, no doubt, we are all very busy both on the work and home front finalising client orders and last minute Christmas preparations. Christmas time is for a lot of us, is a time for a well-earned break and a chance to recharge the batteries. Christmas is a wonderful time of the year as it gives us all a chance to step back from the hustle and bustle of daily life and spend time with the family, think about those less fortunate than ourselves and spend some quality time relaxing before the working year begins again.
The holiday season is a also a great time to think about your goals and aspirations in life and spend some time planning for the future. In business however, it can also be a stressful time as many people are away and work coming through the door can be slow -- resulting in lower income just at a time where outgoing can be high, e.g. Christmas parties, client entertainment, holiday pay etc.
So here are my tips to make the most of the post-Christmas period and set yourself up for a great year ahead.
Touch Base with Clients
Christmas provides the perfect opportunity to touch base with clients in particular those that you haven’t seen for a while and who you have lost contact with. Remember, it is easier to get work out of an existing client than it is to find a new one. Some suggestions include, sending a Christmas card, holding a client function, sending a small gift, catching up for a coffee, sending a happy new year card or using the new year as an excuse to make a phone call.
Business Planning and Goal Setting
The Christmas holiday period is a great time to spend some quality time reflecting on the past and re-setting your goals for the future. Find a quiet place out in the natural environment and spend some time just sitting still, enjoying the environment and then take a blank piece of paper and start jotting down ideas. Don’t think too much about them -- initially just focus on capturing your thoughts. Then in a day or two, come back to that list and choose a few to work on in 2015 and flesh them out. Make sure you write your goals down clearly and put a timeframe on them for achievement.
January can also be a great time to have a planning session with your staff away from the office somewhere. Do it early in the year when everyone is still refreshed and rearing to go.
One of the business influences on the success of your business is the personal development of you as the business leader and your key staff. Christmas provides the perfect opportunity to spend some time reading a good business book or catching up on some technical journals you haven't had a chance to read during the year.
Cash Flow Preparation
As mentioned above, the holiday period can be a time of financial strain on your business as the bills don’t stop but the income often tapers off as industries slow down and people go away. The best way to tackle this is to plan ahead. Ensure you have prepared a cash flow so you know where you stand. Follow up your debtors before Christmas and try and build a larger than normal cash buffer. Consider stretching your creditors to improve your own cash flow over this period. If your cash flow shows you have a short term cash short fall, then consult your bank early and seek an extension to the overdraft or look at other funding options such as factoring, sale and lease back of assets or equity injections.
Above all take some time to enjoy Christmas and New Year and spend quality time with your families after all that is the main reason we work so hard during the year.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!