As the countdown commences to Christmas, the big guy in red isn’t the only one who should be making a list and checking it twice.

In fact the coming weeks of the consumer and service calendar are some of the busiest of the business year, meaning operators should be making every effort to ensure they’ve ticked every box on a lengthy Christmas list.

After all your customers will see you if you’re sleeping, they’ll know when you’re awake, they’ll remember if your bad or good, so be good for goodness sake…

And with that little ditty now resonating in your head, here’s a quick checklist for businesses over the Christmas period.

Making a list

Christmas is indeed about making a list, and for business this should extend from simple tasks like having enough stock available to more complex matters like your organisational structure over a time when many staff are away on leave.

This list will be vital in ensuring you have the right stock at hand, the right people for the job, and the right security, strategies and procedures in place during a busy then exceptionally quiet time.

Be good for goodness sake

Christmas can be a make or break moment in terms of delivering on the expectations of your clients. The likelihood is people will need things prior to the break – whether that’s products for Christmas or services completed before the holidays.

A key function of business at this time is to adequately anticipate and cater to your customer’s needs. This stands you in much better stead in the quiet of the New Year when it comes to repeat clientele.

Checking your business twice

The festive season is a notoriously tricky time in business when it comes to maintaining the right staffing levels, with many staff members seeking time off over this period of the year.

If your business stays open throughout the festive season, you’ll need to be fair in who gets time off when. Meanwhile, the likelihood is some staff will be stepping into more senior roles to cover others on leave. That means you need to ensure your systems, procedures and training are up to date to allow them to tackle new tasks effectively.

Not naughty, but nice

Christmas is a great opportunity to recognise both your customers and staff for their role in your business throughout the year.

When it comes to clients, engage with clientele in a new way via newsletters, cards or email. This simple correspondence allows you to highlight your business achievements, thank customers for their patronage and flag any closures over the Christmas break. It also enables you to promote any products or services available over the festive season.

Meanwhile, your staff have been with you through the good and bad of 2017, and the festive season is the opportunity to reward them for their efforts. For some this takes place at an annual Christmas party, but even a small bonus, heartfelt note of thanks or token of appreciation ensures the people who value your employment feel valued in return.

You better watch out

Whether your business is shutting down or ramping up over Christmas, do not forget to secure it over the festive season. In retail this means preparing for a spike in shoplifting, but it’s not just because a business is busy that security should be front of mind.

Prior to closing for the festive season or scaling back operations, make sure items like insurance is current, policies are up to date, information is backed up and stored correctly, and staff understand their roles.

Not just Santa Claus coming to town

With many businesses closing down between Christmas and New Years, and customers enjoying a welcome break, the period immediately following Christmas is notoriously quiet right through until the end of January. That means now is the time to get your business ducks in a row in a bid to combat the inevitable lull.

In addition to coping with the Christmas rush you should be planning out your New Year’s product, service and advertising campaigns to see you through the traditionally quiet January period.

And while it may be tempting to kick back and relax over the break, time away from the office also presents a great opportunity to review your business goals and set new milestones for the New Year ahead.

Christmas brings a mixed bag for business with a busy period, welcome break then inevitable lull. The key to handling each is good planning, a little foresight and setting up the systems you need to get the job done.

For more strategies, tools and further assistance in preparing your business for Christmas and the New Year ahead, contact Clive Enever – The Business Mentor.