Planning for the holiday rush

The holiday rush can be your most profitable time of the year so long as your small business is set up for success in the Christmas period. 

For many businesses, Christmas time is their most stressful season because they do not adequately prepare for the increased customer demand that occurs at the end of each year. Being understaffed or running out of inventory during the holiday period can jeopardise a business’ brand and customer service reputation in the long run. 

Ensure you are ready for the increased customer demand by considering the following checklist: 

Have sufficient staff 

You will need to schedule more staff than usual to deal with the customer influx over the holiday period. Make sure your staff are aware of the expectations for increased availability in advance. You might need to consider hiring temporary staff. When recruiting, look for candidates who are quick- learners, can cope under pressure and have flexible availability. 

Get on top of leave 

Nothing lowers morale more than forbidding leave at Christmas. Find a happy medium by giving leave on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis. Consider giving staff an option of working Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve to keep it fair and keep track of which staff members went on leave last year. 

Adjust your opening times 

Consider opening earlier and closing later to maximise your profits. If Christmas is your busy period, this is your chance to boost your profit margins for the year. It is also an opportunity to give some of your employees half days and boost their work-life balance. 

Stock your inventory 

When you have supplies or merchandise like branded shopping bags or business cards, place an order that is big enough to sustain you for the entire holiday season. If you run out of these supplies and there is a delay in production you could find yourself in a tight spot.