The holiday season can be a stressful time for small business owners. While many Aussies around the country are happily switching on their ‘out of office’ and heading straight to the beach, this time of year is a little different for those who run their own business.
According to new research commissioned by Prospa, almost three-quarters (73%) of small business owners say concerns around their business prevent them from relaxing during the holiday period. Two-thirds (65%) admit to feeling stressed because of cashflow problems.
On top of that, four in five small business owners are missing out on quality family time throughout the year because they’re distracted by work.
Whether it’s the busiest time of year or a slow (or even shutdown) period, there are a few steps you can take to minimise your business worries.
1. Communicate with customers
Your customers expect your operation times to change during the holiday season, but don’t leave them guessing. With a range of tools at your disposal, there’s no reason for poor communication when it comes to shorter opening hours or shutdown periods. Use social media, email newsletters, and update your website to let people know about changes ahead of time, and set up your voicemail for more ad hoc enquiries.
If you’re staying open or are even offering extended hours during the busy period, the same rule applies. Whether you’re a florist, bottle-shop, or dental practice, get the message out there that your doors are open (especially when so many are shut). You may well save the day for someone with last-minute floral arrangements or an emergency tooth extraction.
Communicating upfront will minimise disruption for your customers and business distractions for you!
2. Stock up for 2019
While it’s easy to focus on ‘wrapping up’ 2018, making the time to plan ahead for the first few weeks of January will make it a lot easier to switch off during the holidays. Take advantage of discounts on bulk purchases and stock this time of year. Not only do you save money, but it means you won’t be left in the lurch when your suppliers are still shut down at the start of 2019. You can jump straight into the new year rather than playing catch up with ordering. Office stationary, stock, or even new uniforms – get it organised now so you can feel relaxed later on.
3. Cover yourself for the unexpected
The holiday season can be unpredictable and knowing you have a safety net can help put cashflow concerns at ease.
For retailers experiencing a busy period, extra funds might be needed to re-order stock or hire a few more casual staff. For those in professional services, it’s more likely to mean you can cover the monthly bills and rent during an extended quiet period. And for tradies, it will help with holiday wages so your staff will stick with you over the break. Not only is there less work coming in, but customer invoices are more likely to be paid late. A small business loan can save you a lot of stress in the long-run and minimise distractions when you’re away from work.
Don’t be distracted from the other important things in your life. We know you’ll never switch off entirely, but even the boss deserves a little piece of mind during the holiday season!
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About the author
Anna Fitzgerald is the Group Head of Corporate Relations at Prospa. She focuses on media relations and driving our government, public policy and regulatory agenda. Prospa is Australia’s #1 online lender to small businesses. Prospa understands small business owners need faster finance solutions so that they can make timely decisions quickly and seize opportunities with confidence.