Sure, the holidays are all about festive cheer, but if you own a business your stress levels may skyrocket this time of year. With the holiday rush, it can be difficult to juggle increased demands on your business and still find time to enjoy the holidays with your family and friends. Getting ahead of possible problems can help you tackle this busy season without letting your business hit a speed bump.
Here are some tips to minimize business-related stress this holiday season:
1. Plan Ahead of Time. Regardless of how big your business is, planning is key. Look to prior years to get a sense of what your business should expect this holiday season. Do you need to plan any special sales, promotions, or marketing? Should you pay special attention to inventory levels to ensure you don’t sell out of key products? You should also formulate a plan to ensure your staffing levels will be adequate throughout the holidays. Work with your employees to hash out vacations schedule and consider temporary hires if you anticipate being short-staffed during peak times.
2. Delegate Responsibilities. Remember that you don't have to do it all yourself. Delegate tasks to trusted employees in order to free up your mental space so you can concentrate on crucial matters. You may find it difficult to hand off certain business tasks – but talented employees might surprise you with their capabilities.
3. Set Realistic Goals. Be honest about what you can achieve during the holiday season. Don't bite off more than you can chew. When setting holiday goals for your business it’s important to consider other commitments you may have outside of your business as well. Once you have an idea about what is realistic, set S.M.A.R.T. goals for the holiday season that you can actually measure. Having clear expectations about what you’re trying to achieve can make it much easier to reach your holiday business goals.
4. Properly Communicate. Start with open communication - let your staff know what to expect during the holiday season. Will their schedules be changing? Will you need them to take on any extra tasks or temporarily shift their responsibilities? Don't leave them guessing. Not properly communicating with your staff can cause confusion and misunderstandings and lead to diminished workplace morale. You should also ensure clear, honest communication with your customers during the holidays. Keep them in the loop about how long it will take to process and ship their orders, and don't shy away from warning them about any potential hold-ups. It’s better to be upfront with customers than it is to overpromise and under-deliver.
5. Be Budget-Conscious. Carefully manage your budget for the holiday season. Think ahead and map out your expected holiday costs now so they don't catch you off guard later. Keep a close eye on your business spending and cash flow throughout the season, and be sure not to cross your budget boundaries.
6. Stay Organized. Effective organization can significantly reduce stress. Consider project management software, organizational apps, and customer support tools that can help you streamline your business operations this holiday season.
7. Focus on Time Management. Prioritize your most important tasks this holiday and use time management techniques to stay productive. Stay focused on the most pressing task until it’s finished. Multi-tasking is critical for business owners, but with all of the extra stress that the holidays bring, it can be impossible to get anything done when you’re trying to juggle several things at the same time.
8. Take Care of Your Health. Don't neglect your physical and mental health during this busy time. Prioritize your work-life balance by getting exercise, eating right, and getting enough shut-eye. Deep breathing exercises or meditation can help ease stress levels, too. As a business owner, you’re likely the glue that holds your business together, so you don’t want to burn out during the holidays.
The holidays can be a significant revenue-booster for your small business, but they can also be extremely stressful. With a little planning and organization, you can reach your holiday business goals and still find time to enjoy the holiday season.
At BankFive, we’re dedicated to guiding our MA and RI business customers through their seasonal peaks and valleys and helping them grow and prosper throughout the year. Don’t hesitate to contact us about business financing, credit cards, cash management solutions, merchant services, and more.