It’s time for the holiday season to begin, and with it, a host of responsibilities for your business. Are you ready to tackle the holiday season head-on, from the increase in festivities to the several day shut-down that occurs around the holidays? This checklist will help ensure that your entire business is prepared for the holidays.
Step One: Set Your Holiday Schedule
If you’re going to be closing over the holidays, which days will you be closed? Create a schedule that works for the needs of your business. Don’t forget to include:
- Notifications for customers so that they’ll know whether or not to expect you to be open surrounding the holidays.
- Scheduling the cleaning crew to come in and freshen up your business while it’s closed.
- Preparing time for any updates, new systems, or other items that need to be tested during this busy time of year. Note: if you have some days around the holidays when you’re not as busy as usual, this is a great time to test new systems and products so that you can see if they work on a smaller scale before launching on a larger one.
- A plan for completing any projects or other materials that need to be off of your desk before the holiday begins or immediately after it ends.
- Planning and pre-scheduling your social media posts so that they’ll appear at the proper times during the holidays.
Step Two: Designate Responsibilities
Throughout the holiday season, you want to be sure that you’re designating responsibilities properly–especially if you’re the type of business that is always on call or there are emergencies that could crop up that will require an immediate response. Make sure that:
- Employees know who needs to be on call during specific times throughout the holidays.
- There is reasonable scheduling for staff who must be present during the holidays, allowing everyone to have time to spend with their families.
- You have time off, too! As the boss, you may be tempted to give your employees the entire holiday season off while you remain on call. Make sure that you turn off the “work” mindset for at least a few days, even if that means you take a couple of days after the usual vacation is over.
- You’ve designated a second-in-command who can help make critical decisions and deal with customers during the holidays.
- You know how to contact employees who may be needed during the holidays in the event of an emergency (the IT team, anyone?) and what their availability is during the holidays. This is a great time to update contact information, especially if you typically communicate with employees through email, which may be turned off or not checked during the holiday season.
By properly designating responsibilities, everyone will know exactly what’s expected of them during the busy holiday season. If something does come up that needs the attention of your staff, you’ll know how to get in touch with them and they’ll know how they are expected to respond.
Step Three: Connect with Customers
You’ve set up your schedule and designated responsibilities. Now, it’s time to connect with your customers! You’re not just spreading holiday cheer. You’re also connecting with your customers to make sure they know how much they are appreciated by your business. Make sure your communications include:
- Information about any changing hours during the holiday season, including both extra hours of operation and the days you’ll be closed.
- Details about when shipping will resume after the holidays, including anticipated wait times, if relevant.
- Thank-yous to your loyal customers. This can come through email, direct mail, or even in the form of a special gift for long-term customers. A low-cost gift can go a long way toward increasing customers’ opinion of your business, making them far more likely to use you in the coming year.
Is your business holiday ready? This checklist will help ensure that you’re ready to celebrate the holiday season and ring in the New Year in style.
About David Officen
David is the Founder and Managing Director of proCFO.
David combines an accounting and consulting background with commercial experience both as a manager for large commercial businesses and as the owner of private and family businesses.