by Allon Raiz on 17/05/12 at 12:27 pm
The holidays should be a time to sit back, relax, and enjoy life… But for many small business owners, holidays seem to represent nothing more than lost sales and extra stress. It is true that public and religious holidays can have a serious impact on small businesses. Low productivity and difficult staffing issues are just some of the problems caused and these problems are compounded when several holidays occur close to each other. However, there are several things entrepreneurs can do to reduce – or even take advantage of – the disruption that holidays bring.
Because we know well in advance when holidays are coming up, it’s possible to prepare for them. Make sure that staff understand what is needed to keep the business running through the holidays and allocate leave accordingly. Take sales into account in your preparation. Push for deals in the pipeline to be closed before the holidays arrive. Where possible, commit to post-holiday delivery.
2. Look for holiday-related opportunities
Think differently about how holidays affect your business environment. It may be that holidays offer opportunities that other periods don’t. For example, hotels, restaurants and retail stores do extremely well around the holidays. Is there a way that you can adapt your business or products to serve these potential clients?
3. Get rid of clutter
Use the opportunity to clean out your work space. Do your filing, clean out your office, tidy your desk and inbox and throw away anything that you don’t need. This may seem trivial, but the physical act of going through and disposing of all the clutter that inevitably gathers allows you to clean out your mind and tie up loose ends. This process may also remind you of leads that weren’t followed up or ideas that you haven’t had time to work on yet.
4. Use the time to think
For many entrepreneurs, there simply isn’t enough time during the year to sit back and take a longer, strategic view of their businesses. The holidays give you an opportunity to do this. Be sure to write down what you think about and any ideas you have. Even if you can’t act on these ideas immediately, writing them down will allow them to filter through into your subconscious, where your brain will keep on figuring out how to make them a reality.
5. Keep working on finding work
No matter what time of year it is, there is always work to be found. Take the time to put together proposals that may have been put on the backburner. Do some relevant research to find out how to implement the strategies you have designed.
Remember, holidays are what you make of them. With careful planning and some lateral thinking, it’s possible not only to limit the problems that may crop up, but also to use the time to strategise and develop new ways of looking at your products, your business and finding sources of work.
Allon Raiz is the CEO of Raizcorp, the only privately-owned small business ‘Prosperator’ in South Africa and the only South African Enterprise Development faculty accredited as a Centre of Excellence by the UK-Government approved Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI). In 2008, Raiz was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and in 2011 he was appointed for the first time as a member of the Global Agenda Council on Fostering Entrepreneurship, making him one of 15 world experts in the field. For more information, visit www.raizcorp.com. Follow Allon on Twitter: www.twitter.com/allonraiz. View more articles by Allon Raiz.