- Check business essentials such as cash flow, cyber security and supply chain resilience before peak season hits
- Think about how you can stand out from the crowd with your marketing and promotions
- Make sure to look after your physical and mental wellbeing, too
The festive season can be one of the busiest times of year for small business owners. From Black Friday through to the new year, things really ramp up – particularly if you have a retail, eCommerce or hospitality business.
With peak season just around the corner, it’s time to make sure you’ve got the right processes and plans in place to ensure your business runs smoothly during this busy time. In the spirit of the season, we’ve come up with our ‘End of year business’ checklist. Sure, there are no partridges in pear trees. But you will find practical and helpful ideas to help you prepare for a successful, stress-free peak season.
Your end of year business checklist
1. Be cyber secure
The last thing you or your customers need during the festive season is a data breach or cyber attack. Unfortunately though, cybercriminals get even craftier at this time of year – preying on the fact that you’re distracted with so much else going on. Triple check your security strategy and make sure you’re following cyber security best practices like activating multi-factor authentication (MFA) and turning on automated software updates.
2. Manage your cash flow
Depending on your business type, cash flow can go a little haywire over the festive season. If you’re in retail, you may need to spend big on stock before sales skyrocket. If you’re in a service-based industry, sales could fluctuate rapidly. The best way to manage potential ebbs and flows is with preparation. Write a cash flow forecast so you know what lies ahead. For a clear picture of your business cash position, you should separate business and personal finances, too. Get more tips on managing cash flow.
3. Get paid on time
One of the key strategies for managing cash flow is getting paid on time and to enable this, you need firm policies in place. Send invoices as soon as possible with clear payment terms. Reconsider your approach to credit, avoiding it where possible and being very careful about extending it. Take the time to optimise how you take payments, too – by setting up a business PayID or making the most of the latest solutions for accepting payments in-store, online and on-the-go.
4. Create a financial buffer
With tough economic conditions likely to continue, it’s important to prepare for increasing costs. If price hikes don’t eventuate, then you’ve got surplus funds to spend on other areas of your business. If they do, then you’re ready for them and can ride them out.
5. Prepare your team
If you run a café in a busy tourist town, then you’ll likely need to recruit and train more staff for the holidays. On the flip side, if your business relies on foot traffic from nearby workers – who are all on holidays in those busy tourist towns – then you won’t need nearly as many staff. You might even close for the holiday season. Either way, forecast the number of staff you’re likely to need, and give everyone plenty of notice about any planned shutdown periods.
6. Prepare your holiday promos
During the peak sales season, every brand is vying for shoppers’ attention – so you need to get smart about how you get your best deals out in front of your customers. Create quality, eye-catching content to promote your most irresistible deals, and spread the word via a mix of paid social media advertising, organic posts and direct marketing.
7. Win new customers
The festive season is the perfect time to woo new customers and strengthen existing relationships. As people relax into holiday mode, they’re in an optimal frame of mind to try new things (which could include your products or services). Think about how you ‘sell’ your brand. Hone your elevator pitch and start spreading the word about why your business should become part of their lives.
8. Be disaster ready
Unfortunately, the holiday season in Australia also falls in peak bushfire season. With natural disasters growing in frequency and severity, it is absolutely critical to have a plan in place in case disaster strikes. This plan should include everything from how you’ll keep yourself and your staff safe, to safeguarding your financials and having the right insurances. Get more tips on disaster preparedness for your business.
9. Plan for the new year
Amidst all this planning for a successful festive season, don’t forget to look into the longer term and think about what you want to achieve over the next 12 months. Review your business plan, put a strategy in place for the next year, and address any potential risks so you can protect your business against any unexpected bumps in the road.
10. Take a break
When you’re busy running a business, it can be hard to justify taking time out for yourself. But if you don’t, you could end up feeling stressed or getting burnt out. So set aside some time to look after your mental and physical wellbeing. This could be a daily walk on the beach, some time on the couch with a good book, a catch-up with friends, or even a holiday. This way, you’ll be raring to go for another successful year of business.
For more tips on running your business, explore the Financially Ready hub
Remember, we’re always here to help with your everyday business needs. Get in touch with us on 1800 801 465 Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm (AEST) or request a call back to have a Financially Ready conversation.
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