The Christmas holidays are a time for rest, relaxation, and quality time with family and friends. However, as a small business owner, it can be difficult to completely disconnect from work over the two to four week break.
Critical aspects of your business may still require attention even when you are soaking up the sun on the beach.in Queensland over the Christmas holidays.
As your trusted accounting and business strategy firm here at Keypoint Accountants, we have aimed to pose thoughtful questions to consider before you temporarily close up shop this festive season.
1. Cybersecurity – Is Your Data Safe While You’re Away?
Before jetting off on your holiday, it’s crucial to ensure your business data and systems are secure.
Cybercrime increases by 30% during the Christmas period, with small retailers particularly vulnerable to attacks.
Here are three things to consider:
- Have you updated all software, enabled two-factor authentication and checked your password management systems, and ensured your data-backup systems are in place and have adequate capacity? These basic security measures will reduce the chances of a breach in your absence.
- Could you employ the services of an IT security specialist? With the risk heightened over Christmas, having a trusted partner monitor for threats could give you peace of mind. We recommend Michael Gibby from SEQ IT Services if you need help in this area.
- Have you backed up all critical data offline or to the cloud? Ensure you can access it from wherever you are regardless of any issues that may arise.
Key Question: Is there anything more you could do to protect customer and company data over the holidays?
2. Employee Management – Keeping Team Members Engaged.
With many staff taking leave over Christmas, maintaining strong employee engagement is vital. As a leader, you set the tone for workplace culture.
Here are some morale-boosting ideas:
- Schedule a celebratory team Christmas lunch before closing for holidays. This shows your appreciation.
- Send a personalised Christmas card to each employee. Handwritten notes recognise their contributions.
- Consider year-end bonuses or small gifts as a token of thanks. Even simple gestures can lift spirits.
- Enable flexible leave arrangements where possible. This caters to different holiday needs.
Key Question: Have you clearly communicated holiday arrangements and expectations to your team?
3. Provide Stellar Customer Service and Communications.
The holidays present the perfect opportunity to wow customers and showcase your brand values.
Try these tactics:
- Create a useful holiday season newsletter to send out to your customer base.
- Send small gifts to frequent shoppers thanking them for their loyalty over the year.
- Make yourself available to quickly resolve any issues for customers over Christmas.
- Phone elderly clients you haven’t heard from recently to check in and wish them well over the holidays.
- Monitor social media closely and be highly responsive to comments or complaints during the break.
Key Question: Could you implement any new initiatives to strengthen client relationships this Christmas?
4. Embrace Seasonal Marketing.
While business in many industries slows down during holidays, seasonal marketing can entice new customers.
- Running Christmas promotions and competitions across your social channels. Offer discounts or free products as prizes.
- Making your website and storefront more festive. Include imagery of Christmas trees, Santa, snowflakes etc.
- Attending local Christmas fairs or events to showcase products and make new connections. Distribute promotional flyers and free samples.
- Using Google/Facebook ads to target customers searching for Christmas gift ideas or holiday services.
Key Question: What quick, low-cost marketing tactics could you test out this Christmas season?
5. Client Communication – Staying Connected Over Christmas.
While business activity may slow over the break, client relationships still require nurturing.
Make sure you have:
- Updated your business hours on Google My Business and your website.
- Made sure someone is monitoring emails from website contact forms and voicemail messages.
- Checked that your phone messages are updated to reflect holiday season hours.
- Sent Christmas greetings by email or card to key contacts. Personalise each message.
- Checked if any customers want to opt-out of communications over the holidays. Be respectful.
- Confirmed January meeting dates with clients before closing. This ensures no double-booking issues.
- Provided contact details in case of urgent enquiries. Make it clear when you will respond.
Key Question: Could you provide any special assistance to struggling clients over the Christmas period?
6. Delegate Responsibilities.
As the business owner, it’s hard to step away completely, even during holidays. Delegating to key staff can ease your load.
- Where possible, assign urgent tasks to reliable senior staff or external partners. Provide clear instructions.
- Make them aware of your contact details in case big decisions are required.
- Have them oversee employee schedules, customer issues and monitoring of security systems.
- Request regular check-in Zoom or phone calls or emails so you stay updated if away overseas.
Key Question: Do your staff have the skills, experience and authority to handle business-critical situations in your absence?
7. Reflect and Recharge.
The Christmas holiday offers a valuable chance to recharge personally and review your business progress.
Be sure to:
- Completely switch off work mobiles and laptops for extended periods. You need a proper break.
- Spend time with family and friends without work distractions. Come back feeling refreshed.
- While relaxed, reflect on business achievements, challenges and goals for 2024. Capture any inspiration or ideas!
- Treat yourself! You deserve a break after a demanding year running your business.
Key Question: Will you fully embrace the benefits of resting and reflecting this Christmas? Or struggle to switch off?
Wishing all our small business clients a safe and joyful Christmas break!
We’re here to support you before and after our Christmas break!