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By Geoff Hattam, Altitude Advisory, Accountants, Adelaide.

The Christmas/New Year season presents many challenges for business. For some, like retail and hospitality it can be an extremely busy time. For others, this period cmsi - christmasan result in quieter trading or even temporary closure.

Whether your business is quiet or busy, planning for the festive season is important.

For the busy business

Make sure you have your cash flow under control – increased sales typically lead to greater demand for stock. Ensuring adequate stock levels at the start of the season is critical too. Try and negotiate extended terms with your suppliers and keep your bank updated in case you need to push the overdraft.

Staffing is also a key issue and rostering to ensure appropriate staff levels can often lead to frustration. Managing a busy period when staff would rather be elsewhere requires good communication, patience and understanding.

For the quieter business

The phone stops ringing and emails slow down. Take a deep breath and work out how you can use this temporary pause productively. Undertake maintenance on equipment, clean up your workplace (it probably needs it) and review your systems and processes. Where possible ensure your team members are taking leave – they certainly need a break and it is easy for productivity to slip when the pressure is off.

Now is also a great time to reflect on the year just ending and set your business up for a great 2015. Update your budgets and identify your key strategic initiatives. We all make personal New Year’s Resolutions, what resolutions should your business make?

For every business

Managing risk is a key focus over this period and having a contingency plan in place will help you to relax. Things your plan may need to cover include

  • IT failures
  • Power outages
  • Extreme heat
  • Suppliers closed
  • Emergency contact lists

And finally, if you’re are lucky enough personally to be able to take a few days leave, can I implore you to switch off your phone and ignore your emails – Christmas should be a time of celebration to be spent with family and friends – so please make sure you get to enjoy it!

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