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Christmas and New Year’s Tips for Small Business Owners

Christmas is in just a few days, and many small business owners are wrapping up the final holiday details so that they can take time away from the office. It is important to have a good work-life balance between your business and family responsibilities. But, there are a few things that you shouldn’t overlook if you are preparing for a vacation or time off.

Right now, Santa is going through the naughty and nice lists. As a business owner, you should be going through your own to-do lists of things that need to be completed before you leave for the holiday. Here are a few tips to help you keep up with accounting and the other business tasks that need to be addressed:

Christmas Spirit for Your Employees and Vendors

You might have gifts for the family members under the tree. But, you aren’t done with the shopping until you have offered a holiday gift to your employees. Even though it is a busy time of year, it is important that you take a moment to acknowledge the hard work and dedication that comes from the work that your employees offer to the company.

Create a festive environment in the office by bringing in food and treats. You might even hang up lights or set up a Christmas tree. When you are sending out emails, consider adding in holiday greetings or small things that will make the communication a little more festive.

Simple employee gifts might be as basic as adding a Christmas bonus on their paychecks. Or, you might consider handing out gifts so that you have something to give in person. Cash and gift cards are always popular because people like the option to buy the things that they want to receive for Christmas.

Don’t Go Overboard with Holiday Celebrations

It is common for companies to have a Christmas party or a New Year’s gathering. While these events are memorable and fun, you need to be careful not to consume too much alcohol. Too many drinks can have a negative impact on behavior. You want to create good memories, not something that you will regret the next morning!

Even though you are having fun with your team, it is important that you don’t cross the line of maintaining respect among employees. So, it is usually best to keep alcohol to a minimum and provide plenty of food and water during the event.

Check Your Cashflow

When you are planning holiday gifts or parties, you need to be sure that you have the cash available that is needed to pay for these expenses. Cashflow is a critical factor that can make or break your company! You might have good intentions to offer holiday bonuses for your employees. But, the plan could backfire on you if the bonus checks bounce.

Talk to your accounting team to ensure that everything is up-to-date in your financial tracking system. Go over your budget and look at anticipated costs. Then, you will be able to put together a budget that is available to pay for the holiday events.

This cash flow assessment is also important to ensure that you can meet other accounting needs, such as payroll and tax payments. These details need to be evaluated this month before the year comes to an end. But, you should make a point to review this information regularly throughout the year.

Clear Communication about Holiday Hours

Don’t leave people guessing about the times that your office will be open during the holiday season. Instead, focus on clear communication with your employees and customers to set expectations for the holiday hours.

This information can be posted on your door in advance so that customers and visitors know when they can come to the office. Also, share the time-off details with employees so that they can plan their family travel arrangements. It is common for employees to take extra PTO days during this time of year, so make sure that you coordinate these details in advance to ensure that you have enough coverage during the times that the business is open.

Do you have an emergency contact number? Make sure that you have clear responsibilities assigned for the coverage of this number during the holiday season.

If you are going to take extra time off during the holidays, then this information also needs to be discussed with your staff. Communicate to ensure that everything is covered while you are gone. Then, you will be able to leave the office to spend time with your family, with the peace of mind to know that things will keep operating while you are away. Pre-planning will help you avoid vacation interruptions that come from phone calls or emergency emails that need to be answered.

Website and Email Messages

Will there be a few days when you won’t be checking your email? Set up an out-of-office message so that no one is confused by the delayed response. An out-of-office message is a professional, polite way to handle communication if you are going to be away. If someone knows your return date, then they won’t be worried if it takes a little while before they hear back with your response.

Also, consider adding an update on social media websites. If you are going to be away, then post a quick message on Facebook or Instagram to let people know that your office will be closed. Social media provides a great way to communicate information in a fast way, keeping your customers, employees, and vendors updated about the things that are happening in your office.

This essential information should include details about the days that your business will be shut down for the holidays. Also, provide clear information about the re-opening times. You might provide details for emergency contact if needed.

Maximizing the Down Time During the Month of December

Some businesses are busy during this time of year, and there isn’t a lot of extra time available for additional tasks. If you are in the retail industry, then it is likely that you are pushing through the holidays knowing that you can take a break after the year is over.

On the other hand, some companies slow down during this time of year. December can be a quiet time for service-based industries, giving business owners a little more free time. If you own a business that isn’t busy during the Christmas season, then you might consider the advantage of focusing your extra time on bonus tasks that will set you up for the new year.

Yes, you can use the time to spend with your family and friends. But, some business owners find it difficult to step away from work completely. Here are a few important tasks that you might consider to evaluate your success for the year and improvements that might be needed in the New Year:

  • Cashflow trends throughout the year
  • New clients that were lost or won
  • Main referral sources, to dedicate more effort to those marketing strategies
  • Effectiveness of marketing techniques
  • Professional development activities that contributed to your skill set
  • Process and workflow, looking for inefficiencies that need to be corrected
  • New idea brainstorming
  • Tax evaluations and payment plans
  • Accounting software and financial reports

Assessing this information will ensure that you are ready to hit the ground running when the New Year starts.

Don’t Forget to Take Time to Relax!

As a business owner, there is always something else that can be done to support your company. It can be a challenge to be in this position because it can be hard to step away from the office. But, don’t overlook the benefits of taking time for yourself so that you can relax and recharge.

Whether your business doors are staying open or you are closing down for a few days, structure your schedule so that you can take care of yourself. Personal care is more important than many business owners realized. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, then you won’t have the effort or energy to support the needs of your employees or team.

There will always be more time to pay the bills, service your clients, or go through the accounting and financial paperwork. But, there are only a few moments when the family gathers together to celebrate the holiday. So, don’t be afraid to set down your phone and focus on the moment that you are sharing with the people that you love. Stay present in the experience of celebrating the holidays, knowing that you can set aside an hour or two after the party is over to catch up on the business tasks that need to be addressed.

Segmenting your time in this manner is important for mental wellness and the relationships that you share with friends and family members. If you don’t have the option to take time away from the office, then it might be a sign that it is time to outsource some of the busy work.

Our team at Easier Accounting wishes you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! If You need assistance with your year-end accounting, then feel free to reach out to us anytime: (888) 620-0770

Holiday Marking Tips and Other Year-End Suggestions

Regardless of your industry, many customers are in the spirit to spend money as they are buying gifts for the season. Some small business owners assume that only retail companies will benefit from holiday sales. But, there are many ways that other industries can tap into the gift-giving season. If you want to maximize your sales before the year is over, then you need to think about marketing options that are available to boost your revenue.

Why Should You Think About Holiday Sales?

As a business owner, you need to look for opportunities to boost your bottom line and maximize sales as much as possible. A few more sales can improve your revenue for the year, which means that you are increasing the profitability of the company.

When you look at the numbers, do you see that you are bringing in more than you are spending? Some start-up companies have a hard time staying in the black in the first few years. But, leveraging trends in the industry can help you reach profitability faster.

The best thing that you can do is work with an experienced accounting team and an expert marketing team to implement the right strategies for your company. These services will allow you to explore options that you might not have considered, giving you the flexibility to improve your business and increase sales as much as possible.

Customers are in the Mood to Shop

During the holiday season, many customers are in the mood to go shopping. They want to spend money to buy gifts for friends and family members. Additionally, they are more willing to pull out their credit card if they see something that looks like a good deal.

Even if they weren’t thinking about your product or service as a Christmas present, customers might be willing to spend money because of the one-time sale. You can send out a message to your list or share the details on social media. Then, you will be able to offer a discount, helping to boost your sales for the month. Customers love to find a good deal and you can improve your relationship with these people, plus you have the option to up-sell to additional products or services in the future.

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday

Even though people shop throughout the season, there are three main days when the sales are going on:

  • Black Friday: This day is the most widely-known day for retail companies and other businesses to have a sale. Black Friday is known as the day after Thanksgiving. Customers often head to the stores in the early morning hours to hit the doorbuster sales. In recent years, some stores have been offering pre-Black Friday prices on Thanksgiving Day, capturing the shoppers who are ready to go out after enjoying their turkey dinner.
  • Small Business Saturday: After Black Friday became so popular with the big retail companies, consumers started looking for ways to support smaller companies. Small Business Saturday was created as a way to showcase the smaller companies in the community, helping to strengthen the profits of the local shops. If you own a small business, then you might consider the option to market a sale for this day.
  • Cyber Monday: While Black Friday is often in-store shopping, Cyber Monday is a chance for people to find good deals online. Some customers don’t want to leave the comfort of their homes. If you have an online marketplace or a website where people can buy your products, consider sharing a coupon code that provides a discount on Cyber Monday.

If you want to boost your sales, then you can offer sales or bonuses on one or more of these big holiday events. Small business owners often see a spike in sales on these days, followed by higher shopping activities throughout the rest of the season.

Marketing In-Store and Online

There are several ways that you can make your marketing efforts more festive, helping people feel the excitement of the season when they are ready to buy. For example, you might setup holiday décor in the store to create a fun environment when they walk in. Or, add a few holiday graphics or pictures on your website or social media accounts. Consider all of the holidays that your customers might be celebrating, including Hanukah, Christmas, New Years and more.

In-store promotions can be offered to customers who visit in person. You also might send out notifications using marketing channels that you have built. For example, if you are going to be offering a seasonal sale, then leverage your email list and social media accounts to notify people of the opportunity.

A marketing team can help you learn about the best techniques for your industry. Most business owners find that a little bit of marketing can go a long way to increase the sales for the month.

Provide Customers with Easy Gift Ideas

As you are putting together a marketing campaign for your company, consider the easy gift ideas that will encourage people to spend money. People don’t want to stress over the ideas and products that are offered. So, you might share a gift-giving guide in your newsletter or on social media accounts.

Put together a list of products that are great for “Him” or “Her,” as well as items that children love. You might even set up special categories on the website to show gift-giving ideas that are available for the season. Also, think about gift suggestions for business associates, friends, family, and more. When people have an easy answer for something to buy, then they won’t hesitate to make the purchase right away.

If you are going to make these suggestions for gift-giving, then it is important to ensure that you have the inventory stock to support a surge in sales. So, take an assessment of inventory before you post a sale, to avoid the problem of not being able to deliver the product before the holiday.

Time Sensitive Sales

Instead of offering an open-ended sale for the entire holiday season, consider the benefit of using a time-sensitive sale to motivate people to take action. Customers might have a fear of missing out, which will motivate them to take action right away instead of procrastinating the purchase.

When you are sharing information about holiday sales, don’t forget to include details about the length of the sale and the anticipated delivery date. Shipping deadlines can be a good way to motivate people to take action. For example, clearly state the necessary shipping date to help people know when they need to buy if they want to receive the gift before the holiday.

Cater to Last-Minute Shoppers

The time-sensitive sales mentioned above will be motivating for many people. But, there will still be some consumers who procrastinate their shopping until the last minute. In this situation, encourage people to visit your store for on-the-spot purchases. Newsletters and social media can be used to remind customers about options that are available in the store. Set up displays in the store showcasing some of the gift-giving suggestions that were made online.

You can also build in options for impulse buys, such as stocking-stuffers at the registers or gift card options. Help customers see how the item might go well with the gift that they are buying. Then, people will be interested in pairing the choices for the gifts.

Another method that can be used for people who need to find gifts on December 23rd or 24th is to offer digital gift cards or downloadable gift certificates. These gifts can be purchased from any location, and customers will love the option to finish their shopping without leaving the house.

Wrapping Up the Finances for the Year

As you are focusing on the holiday sales, don’t overlook the importance of maintaining good financial records for the rest of the year. It is a good time for you to assess your spending and income so that you can look at the profitability for 2017.

Before the year ends, make sure to talk to your accounting team to see if anything needs to be addressed before the end of the month. For example, you might consider big purchases or office equipment that can be used to manage tax burden for the year. These expenses can be based on the anticipated tax load and the expenses that you will need in the future. The best solution is to talk to a financial expert for custom advice that will support the needs of your company.

At Easier Accounting, we know that November and December can often be the busiest months of the year. Our team will work hard behind the scenes to ensure that you have a successful year-end experience. We are here to assist with your financial tracking, bookkeeping, and invoices. If you need financial advice, then we are always available to offer the assistance that will support your business success. Feel free to call us for more information about the ways our services can support your year-end efforts: (888) 620-0770