If you own your own business it can seem more like the season to be stressed, overworked and under-resourced. (Of course, you could be battling at the other end of the spectrum – being so quiet you can hear a pin drop in the office).
The festive season can be a challenging time of year for anyone in business, so here are our 10 favourite tips to make it a bit more manageable.
NUMBER ONE: ‘Battle Plan / Survival Guide’
Make a simple plan for how you are going to tackle the holiday season. What have been some of the issues you have faced in previous years? If this is your first Xmas in business, do you think you will need more staff to help you pack orders? Do you need better processes to help your staff handle the increased workload? Are your logistics robust enough to allow you to complete work within the expected deadlines? It is a lot easier to stay on top of things when the busy season kicks in if you know how you are going to tackle it.
If you know you are going into a quiet period, then try to have a cash buffer in place. Instead of spending the time stressing about not having work, use the time to plan for the coming year. Then you can hit the ground running when things pick back up again.
NUMBER TWO: ‘Have your Xmas cake AND eat it’
Who has time to think about what they are going to post on social media in the middle of Christmas madness? So don’t think about it. Instead, make the most of scheduling your social media posts and newsletter content ahead of time. Try Hootsuite, Buffer or Grum for social media scheduling, and explore the options for scheduling within your email-marketing programme.
NUMBER THREE: ‘Help me, please’
You don’t have to do everything yourself. Make a list of everything that you would normally do and decide what you can delegate or outsource. Pass appropriate tasks onto your staff members, or even your family if they can help out. If you need some more specialist help, then obviously us VAs are an excellent holiday solution. We have the expertise to help out with your time consuming tasks so that you can focus on your core business. (Call us!)
NUMBER FOUR: ‘First things first’
Do the most important jobs first every day. Then you will know they are out of the way and not hanging over your head stressing you out. Also, have a look if there is anything you can leave for the New Year. If it is a non-essential task, or the deadline isn’t approaching, then leave it for now. Focus on the time critical tasks that will make the day ahead run more smoothly.
NUMBER FIVE: ‘Grab the rope’
Help doesn’t just mean assistance with your business tasks. If people offer to help in other areas of your life, then don’t be too proud to accept it. If your partner offers to cook dinner, someone offers to pick the kids up from school, or the neighbour’s son offers to mow your lawns… let them do it! One less job on your list means you can either take a bit of time to relax, or you can tick something else off the list.
NUMBER SIX: ‘I am currently out of the office…’
Set yourself client office hours and stick to them. You can use your automated out of office message to communicate those hours to your clients and team members. If you choose to work on other business tasks outside of those hours then that is up to you, but don’t make yourself available to your clients 24/7, or they will expect you to be there all the time.
NUMBER SEVEN: ‘Have a break, have a Kit Kat’
Breathe! I don’t just mean the usual inhaling and exhaling that comes as second nature. But take the time to have a short break to recharge your batteries. Also, if things are starting to feel overwhelming, you can take 10 calm, focused breaths to talk yourself down from the overwhelm.
NUMBER EIGHT: ‘N.O spells NO’
If you absolutely cannot fit another thing in, then don’t. You can tell clients that you are not taking new bookings until the New Year. If they really want to work with you then they will wait. If not, then maybe they aren’t the kind of client you want anyway?
NUMBER NINE: ‘Here’s one I prepared earlier’
Are there some things that you can do before the onslaught of the silly season? Maybe there is some preparation work you can do like ordering courier bags, organising your stockroom, providing additional training of your staff, setting up document templates, or arranging your festive client gifts. Whatever you do ahead of time will assist with making the busy period less stressful.
NUMBER TEN: ‘The true meaning of Christmas’
Probably the most important thing on the list is making time for your family. Christmas is a magical time of year, so make sure you factor in time to enjoy the summer break with your family (make sure it is focused time too). Don’t think about all the jobs that need to be done, make your family a priority, and the stress of the job will melt away as your focus shifts.
From all the team at Virtual Assistants, we hope you have a wonderful stress free Xmas and New Year. We can’t wait to see what this 2018 will bring!