Candy canes. Advent calendars. can you believe the end of the year is upon us again?
This is a very special time of year, not only because of all the festivities and celebrations but because in some way or other your business will be affected. How do you ask?
It’ll either need to Wind Up OR Wind Down.
The Wind Up –the end of the year is the absolute peak of their business.
The Wind Down either means a quiet period as customers shift their focus away from your offerings, or a shutdown period, either chosen by you or driven by the location of your business.
Everyone should know if they’re winding up or winding down.
The main questions to ask yourself are:
How have you prepared and planned for this time of year?
How organised are you?
Are you taking full advantage of what this time of year has to offer?
Wind Up or Wind Down
Your business model clearly relates to what’s going on around you. Who you rely on, day to day
Say you’re a cafe in an area that’s a school holiday hub. Are you prepared for the influx of new customers?
Or maybe you’re a cafe in a local industrial area where businesses shut down over Christmas? Are you prepared for a few slow weeks?
The decisions you make and ultimately “the plan” you have in place is what will determine the success and the value of this end of year period.
How to Prepare With Your Upcoming Season Of Business
The end of the year brings changes to every business. Are you ready?
If you read my previous post (yesterday) your business is either winding up or winding down.
No matter which side you fall on, preparation is essential. You need to plan and review.
Communicate with your team and suppliers. Communicate with your customers.
The time to start preparing for the end of the year started over 1 week ago. Are you on to it?
For the Business That’s Winding Up:
Your plan for the wind up this season will be based on what happened to your business in December and January last year.
So, get your numbers out take a look at what happened.
If it was positive. Do it again. And better if you can.
If something was negative? You need to make some changes.
Reviewing last year’s numbers is an integral part of planning for this year. Have you planned for a level of new business over and above last year?
Remember THE PLAN is key.
- Communicate with the people who will directly impact your performance.
- Talk to your customers. Find out what they need, and when they need it. Or if you’re in retail, review what happened last year.
- Talk to your suppliers. One of the main issues for a wind-up business is that some of their suppliers are wind down businesses. If this happens to you, you’ll need to have a contingency plan in place to make sure you have enough reserves to get through the busy period.
- Make sure your staff are on board with the wind-up plan, and you’re all sharing the load. Communication is absolutely essential in this area. You should be communicating with your team in November about how the end of the year is going to work for you all as a team.
On a personal note, there are other areas to organise to avoid burning yourself out.
Know how to manage yourself and your workload while things are busy. Have strategies in place so you can have some downtime.
It’s important to make sure your business and personal lives are balanced and not taking too much from each other.
With these bases covered, it should be smooth and profitable sailing into next year.
For the Business That’s Winding Down:
Your plan for the wind down this season will be based on preparing your clients for the wind down and the reopen.
When do you advise your clients of your shutdown date? Do you follow it up and remind them for a few weeks?
It’s important to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks. Make sure that you’re able to deliver everything you’re committed to before you wind down.
Most importantly you must be prepared for reopening on the other side. You should ultimately be able to walk in and get started because you left the business organised and prepared for the new year.
There is one rather huge advantage to the wind down business, that is the ability to make changes while the business is not operational.
Yes, it is time for a holiday, however consider the value of a day or two making changes, doing much needed maintenance or even renovating and having a good old clean out!
Here are some things for you to consider:
Things to consider:
- Do you need to do some maintenance?
Plan to do things that’ll make for a smooth start up. Maybe you need plumbers, electricians, machines serviced, or you’ve wanted to rearrange the office. Take the opportunity now so you’re not disturbing the work flow during the year. Ensure you contact them early as they may be on Wind Down
Last year I had a client totally rip out the top floor and re-do their offices over a 2-week period. Yes, they would have enjoyed a holiday. The new feeling and pride they felt and having redesign and update their premises was worth the effort.
- Communicate clearly with clients.
Make sure to speak to all of your clients. Let them know you’re closing and see if there’s anything that needs to be done beforehand. If new work is still coming in, make sure clients understand the timeline changes that come with winding down.
Also consider what happens if a client comes along that’s a potentially big job. Are you willing to be flexible, or is there someone who can be on call to deliver urgent needs?
- Have a clear start up plan.
Review the previous year. If you came back knowing what was expected immediately and were able to deliver smoothly, then you’ve done well. If there were any hurdles or confusion, you need to be clear on how to avoid them.
Understand your business needs, have a clear plan to wind up or wind down, and watch your business flourish into Christmas and the New Year.
Whichever business you are in – enjoy the Holiday Season!