Make resolutions to improve business planning at Christmas
Business planning at Christmas should be high on the list for firms in the months and weeks running up to the big event. With Christmas now just days away, you will probably all be either frantically working to get on top of deadlines and deliver agreed products or services before the break, or winding down in readiness for some festive fun. Or, for those involved in industries such as retail, it can be one of the busiest and most stressful periods.
Whilst Christmas is a time many of us look forward to, it can throw up issues such as cash flow, as finance offices close down, perhaps leading to late payments from customers. Whilst we’d hope that everyone is prepared, for those who aren’t, perhaps it could form the basis of some new year business resolutions. Here are a few suggestions:
Plan, plan, plan – we said it three times because it’s really important! Business planning at Christmas around cash flow or a potential slow start to the new year is vital in managing it effectively. Ensure invoices are submitted promptly in anticipation of accounts department shut downs, and chase them through to ensure payment is being processed. Find out about the working schedules of your customers over the festive period, to ensure you can get everything in and processed before they close, so they have no excuse not to pay you!
Create plan B – there can never be too much planning, but sometimes even the best laid plans can go awry. Have a contingency in place to cover eventualities such as late payment, and the higher expenditure that the season can bring, such as staff parties, client entertaining or higher utility bills. Try to limit or postpone unnecessary spending. Some businesses even hold their Christmas parties in the new year, capitalising on lower costs than having it in the peak festive season, and delaying the expense. Staff might even enjoy having something to look forward to at what can often be a bleak time.
Don’t panic – providing enough planning is in place, any issues will be highlighted early on and can be catered for. For instance, if, despite following the above advice, there might still be a shortfall in cash in the business, consider putting in place some temporary funding to cover the difficult period. Forearmed is forewarned, and as long as a potential crisis can be identified early enough, it can be averted with some short-term funding measures. Speak to your accountant about options such as invoice financing or alternative lending sources.
Christmas can provide a steep learning curve for the following year. Note the mistakes and the impact on your business, and make a resolution to learn from them. Whether it’s late filing of year end accounts, not submitting invoices promptly or chasing them through before the festive shut down, there’ll be a check list that is born from a Christmas not properly planned for, which will ensure a better plan for the following!
Whatever your situation, we hope that you manage to find some downtime to spend with family and friends, and enjoy the season of goodwill. A very Merry Christmas from us all at Adams Moore.