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How to survive the silly season: a guide for small businesses

In the blink of an eye, the silly season is here again! For some, it’s the busiest time of year, from retailers helping people get their last-minute gifts and service providers, like hairdressers and beauty therapists, booked out with appointments, to the many cafes and restaurants hosting Christmas luncheons and parties. No matter what business you’re in, we’ve got some simple tips to survive the festive season.

Preparation is key

A little bit of organisation and planning can save your business a whole lot of stress in the long run. Over the holiday period, the needs of your business may change, so it’s important to be ready and not to leave everything to the last minute. Here are some of the things you may need to consider:

Staffing

Depending on the type of business you operate, you may require additional staff to assist with the increase in business. So, if you’re looking at hiring Christmas casuals it’s important to ensure you get in early to avoid missing out.

On the flip side, if your business winds down during this time make sure you clearly communicate any closing dates to your staff and ensure all annual leave is processed accordingly. In addition, keep your customers updated by sending an email with your closing times and updating them on your website, or even a posting them on your social media channels.

Bonus tip: if your business is taking a break, before you flip over that closed sign, give your workspace a good clean out. Simple things like cleaning out desk drawers, the kitchen and fridge will prevent a stinky start to the new work year!

Cash and Stock

If your business relies on physical stock, make sure you have enough on hand to last through the holidays, especially if you’re anticipating an increase in business. If you have insurance for your stock, make sure that you have adequate cover while you have more on hand. Also, check your suppliers operating hours and what their order deadline dates are. Running out of stock could have dire consequences, particularly if it’s a time of year when your business generates higher profits.

The last thing you want is to run out of cash. Keep your tills flowing by keeping a close eye on your cash flow to make sure you have enough on hand and be aware of your bank’s operating hours. If you deal with high volumes of cash, it’s a good time to consider insuring it.

Money cover is part of a Business Insurance pack and helps protect money belonging to your business that may be lost, stolen or damaged whilst in your custody, on your business premises, or in transit to or from your premises. A solid investment when it comes to protecting your hard-earned dollars.

Say thanks

As the year comes to an end, now is the time to thank your customers and those you do business with and wish them a safe and happy new year. A simple gesture goes a long way and can be anything from an email, a Christmas card or even a hamper – let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good basket full of shortbread and Christmas goodies?  If you run an online business, you might run a special campaign or offer a discount code with exclusive deals for your customer database.

And don’t forget to thank your staff too! Whether you have 2 or 20 employees, it’s important to make them feel valued. One of the most common ways to celebrate the end of the year is by hosting a Christmas party or simply writing a personalised ‘Thank You’ card.

Let the celebrations begin

The work Christmas party is a great chance for co-workers to come together and celebrate all of the hard work and achievements made over the past 12 months. On top of making sure the fridge is well stocked, and the karaoke machine is ready to go, it’s also important to take the right steps to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time.

Hosting a Christmas party at your place of work can be a lot of fun and with a few fairy lights, and reindeer ears you can instantly transform your workspace into a festive wonderland. But before you invite any external guests, make sure you have an active Public Liability insurance in place.

Public Liability insurance is designed to protect your business from any risks which may arise from claims by a third party for accidental injury, loss or damage to their property. The last thing you want is to end the year with an expensive liability claim.

Holding your Christmas party at an external location? Make sure you check that the venue has Public Liability cover in place to cover your employees and invited guests or if you are required to have your own policy. You may also need to check the hire terms of the venue if an indemnity is required to the owner and if your Public Liability policy includes this.

Batten down the hatches

One of the common threats of the summer period is bushfires and storms. This is where Building and Contents insurance is a wise investment for protecting your business in the long run.

If your business is located in a fire-prone area, it is important to make sure you are covered for a fire damage, especially if you own your business premises.

Double check your insurance policy wording to make sure you are covered for bushfires as some waiting periods and conditions may apply. 

Putting downtime to good use

How often do we feel there aren’t enough hours in a day? Take advantage of those quieter times to get productive and tackle those little jobs you’ve been putting off. If you need some inspiration, here are a few things you can put on your to-do list:

  • Kickstart the new year and plan ahead. If you have a social media calendar, start planning your content especially around key dates and events. Chat with your staff and brainstorm around what campaigns/content went well throughout the year and where you can make positive changes and improvements for the coming year.
  • If there is any training your staff need to complete, now is a good time to do it. Check out online courses on educational sites like Udemy and Skill Share if there is a particular set of skills you would like your staff to learn
  • Downtime is the ideal time to test out any systems that you may be looking at implementing, allowing your staff to get used to any changes and iron out any issues before things start to get busy again.
  • Take the time to review your insurance policy and make sure you have the right cover in place. If you have made changes to your business, for example, purchased new machines or portable equipment, make sure you update your insurance policy to ensure they are covered.

With these simple steps, your business can have an enjoyable silly season and feel well prepared for the year ahead. If you need to arrange insurance for your business, BizCover can help with a range of competitive quotes from Australia’s leading insurers.

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