Tips To Keep Your Business Running Smoothly During The Holidays
The holiday season is a time for friends and family, for coming together to reminisce about good times past and to look forward to those yet to come. Unfortunately, it can also be a challenging period for business owners and managers. The uncertainty surrounding employee, partner and supplier availability during this time of year can make it incredibly difficult to maintain your company's operations, which at best will kill your holiday spirit and at worst might set your business off track for months to come. Luckily, there's still time to prepare - and as long as you craft a comprehensive plan and stick to it, you'll be able to keep things running smoothly; you might even save your festive cheer.
Create a Calendar
In most industries, there are certain days of the year that your employees will expect to have off. The tricky part comes in accommodating the times other than the major holidays in which your partners and the members of your team will be unavailable. You might, for example, work with individuals who - for faith-based or simple scheduling reasons - may need to be out of the office on days other than the expected norm. Either way, it's of the utmost importance that you be aware of employee and partner unavailability well in advance so that you can plan accordingly and not be caught off guard when the holiday season arrives.
When you create your holiday calendar, you should also formulate a plan for days in which you'll be short-staffed or in which you'll be unable to contact your business partners. For short-staffed days, consider giving your employees a project to work on that would've been difficult for a larger (and more unwieldy) team to complete. By doing so, you'll provide them with a nice change of pace and give them a chance to discuss their holiday plans with one another. For days in which certain business partners will be unavailable, be sure to have whatever you need from them beforehand so that you're not stuck without a vital piece of stock or information until they get back from vacation.
Finally, do your best to allow a little flexibility within your calendar. Though most of your employees and partners will likely have definite plans for the holiday season, there's always the chance that they'll be called away sooner or later than expected. If you're looking at your staffing for certain days and realize that you simply won't be able to run your business, if even one member of your team calls off, consider offering your employees incentives (say, time and a half or a day off down the line) to be on call for those days. Those same incentives can be of great help in staffing your workplace on days where it seems like nobody wants to come in. As with the other elements of the calendar, be sure to have all staffing considerations settled as far in advance in possible to avoid confusion among your employees and to avoid the costly downtime that often comes hand in hand with holiday season miscommunications.
Communicate With Clients
Though it's important to make your employees and partners aware of your holiday policies and hours, it's even more important that your clients know of any scheduled pause in your business operations. If you have an established social media presence, you can get the word out via an announcement on your favorite site; consider bundling that announcement with details of a sale to soften the blow and to drum up a little pre-holiday business. If you don't, do your best to communicate to your clients through traditional means (phone calls, voicemail message, mailers) the exact capacities of your business during this time and when you'll be unavailable. A potential customer can forgive your absence if they're given time to plan for it; they'll be much less forgiving, however, if that absence takes them by surprise when they're in critical need of your services.
But let's say that you're the owner or manager of a small business; let's say that this is the first holiday season since your company was founded and you're overwhelmed by the idea of making every single one of your clients aware of seasonal hours and policies. If you take the challenge head-on, however, you'll find that it may provide you with a tailor-made opportunity to make a big impact on your customer base. Holiday cards can be purchased in bulk for less than a dollar apiece, a tiny investment for what your customer will see as a kind gesture from your company and its employees. Speaking of investments, the task of sending out those cards can be made a great deal easier if you invest in a barcode printer to create the labels for your mailers. Think of it as a sort of holiday gift to yourself and your business, one that'll take some of the stress out of season and provide immeasurable time-saving benefits to your company for years to come.
Though the holiday season can often be a frustrating and aggravating time, that need not always be the case. As with any other challenge facing your business, the communication and timing difficulties unique to this time of year can be easily addressed with proper planning, clear communication, and the determination to do right by your clients, partners, and employees. By following these tips, you and your company will emerge from the holiday season stronger than ever and ready to take on the challenges of the new year. If you have any further questions regarding business operations during the holidays - or if you'd like to know about the other ways in which a barcode printer can boost your company's efficiency and productivity - please feel free to reach out to one of our helpful and knowledgeable customer service representatives.