Holiday Survival Guide for Business Owners
Deck the halls with all things merry and bright and, oh yes, a little stressed. It’s no secret that the busiest and cheeriest time of the year comes with its own gift-wrapped set of worries (will you be able to make enough money and not lose customers?), stress (work-life balance?) and the fact that time tends to fly so darn fast!
Fear not, as many entrepreneurs have been right in your same shoes and have their own set of tried-and-tested holiday survival skills and tricks to pass along to you.
Boundaries, Dear. Boundaries
Look, saying ‘no’ is never gonna be easy, but in order to protect your productivity, you need to clearly communicate your availability (time blocks and workload) to clients, both new and old. Want to know a secret? They will be dealing with the very same holiday stress, and hustle as you and will most likely not only be understanding – they’ll be appreciative too!
The same applies to managing employees and customer expectations (business hours, product availability, etc.): set yourself up with pre-determined boundaries and you will not only stay sane, but you’ll also remain efficient.
Put Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes
From the backroom, we all have our plans and our data and our perceptions of what is going to work, but taking a step back and thinking like a holiday shopper. What really matters to them? What would make their holiday headaches a little lessened? Chat with some clients and figure out holiday season pain points and then surprise them by making it just that much easier for them – and it will be just that much easier for you.
Know your Dates
It may seem like a no-brainer, but once you are in the thick of things, managing events as they happen is much harder. Be prepared for the big ones (Christmas, Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving, New Year’s, Black Friday, etc.), so you can also manage the buildup leading up to each holiday, as well as the inevitable rushes after when your customers suddenly find themselves with free time.
Make a List & Check It Twice
Sure, you wanna be organized and scheduled and a devotee of planners all through the year, but you really should be extra wary during the holidays. Things like parties, shopping, family time, etc. can pop up and add up and so being on top of your organization game matters more than ever.
Set up meetings in advance, make sure to schedule important calls and don’t overbook yourself on a whim or on a false sense of how bad can things get, really? Also, make sure to block off extra time than you think you will need to help manage your whirlwind.
But Also Enjoy
While you’re at it with the scheduling, don’t forget to actively block off time for you to unwind. Enjoy the season with friends and family, eat some cookies and generally just stay human (or Christmas elf, if you’re so inclined).