Prepare your small business for the summer break


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After a difficult year, many Kiwis are counting down the days until they can clock off and enjoy a well-deserved summer break. However, for small business owners, there can be a sense of pressure. Balancing cash flow and expenses when Kiwis pack up for Christmas and New Year’s can be tough.

A lot of businesses pretty much shut down after Christmas and don’t really get back to full pace until mid-February. The summer slowdown can be tricky to navigate, so it’s important to be as prepared as possible.

“Embrace the Christmas spirit by running sales and promotions to get people through your door.”

Now’s the time to start thinking about what you and your employees need to get through the festive season with minimal stress – after all, you also deserve a relaxing summer.

Plan your expenses over the holiday

While many Kiwis put their lives on hold for the summer break, this doesn’t apply to your business expenses.

Rent and utilities still need to be paid, and employees still need to receive their wages – especially if you’ve got people working over the holiday period.

If you’re concerned about making it through, now’s the time to sit with your accountant or bookkeeper to go through your finances and forecast for the next few months.
Understand your staffing needs

For Bay of Plenty small businesses, the opportunity to stay open over the holidays is a tempting option as Kiwis flock from all over New Zealand to the coast.

However, you and your employees also need a break. As an employer, you can avoid headaches by having good oversight over your staff roster and identifying the gaps early, using apps like RosterElf to make it easier on you from an admin perspective.

For example, do you need to hire additional staff to get through the festive period while you and your team take time off?

Pull from your experience in previous years to make informed decisions – whether this is increased staffing, reduced hours or a combination of both.

Finally, flexibility is king. Being flexible around holiday plans can make you a more desirable employer, giving good staff a reason to stay for the long term.

Make hay while the sun shines

Sometimes the holiday break truly sneaks up on us but it’s important to make the most of the busier months in the lead up, particularly if your business is selling wares that could end up under the Christmas tree!

Now is the time to motivate staff, now is the time for sales and promotions, and now is the time for extra marketing spend before much of New Zealand shuts up shop for the summer.

Embrace the Christmas spirit by running sales and promotions to get people through your door – or checking out online.

This is also where a robust social media strategy can come in handy, helping you connect and engage with consumers both new and existing. The Digital Boost website has dedicated resources and videos to help with this journey.

Review inventory ahead of time

Global supply chain issues have plagued businesses across all sectors for most of the year.

While navigating the unpredictable holiday period, the last thing you need to be dealing with is inventory issues. Take stock early and use digital tools like Cin7 to understand your position and identify issues at a moment’s notice.

Switch off and shop local

When all is said and done, it’s important for your own wellbeing to take time off over the holidays as well.

It has been a challenging year for a lot of Kiwis. Put in the mahi for this last stretch so when it comes to late December, you’re in the best position to fully embrace a holiday. It’s important for your own wellbeing to take some time off.

Of course, for some of us, the summer period is the busiest period making it harder to schedule time off. But it’s still important to have a break, so be sure to take a rest after the season to give yourself some space away from work.

Finally, to all those reading this, whether a business owner or not, please remember to shop local this holiday season. It’s one of the best things we can do to support the Bay of Plenty community.

Related: What are small business owners experiencing at the moment?

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Bridget Snelling
Bridget Snelling
Xero New Zealand Country Manager

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