Tips for managing the holiday season

Summer is the time to relax and enjoy long hot days at the beach, lazy evenings outside and even a family holiday.  The reality for many small business owners is very different however, especially where the peak trading period spans the summer months.  Seasonal trading is never easy, business owners must contend with huge surges in demand whilst simultaneously covering staff holidays, before trying to get a little rest themselves.

The following financial tips can help business owners cope with the increased demands of seasonal trade and stay cool as the temperature rises.

Understand your business patterns – Look at the seasonal trends that have occurred in the past and plan accordingly. If certain products or services have traditionally surged in the past, the chances are that the same thing will happen again.

Get organised before the peak – Organisation is key so make sure systems are up-to-date, stock is in place and everyone knows what to do.  In leading your team and managing increased customer demand you need everything in place and information at your fingertips.

Avoid excess stock – It’s vitally important to make sure you have enough stock to fulfil customer orders but don’t over estimate as this can result in excess stock hanging around into the new year and ties up cash until the goods are sold.

Keep cash flowing – When taking on increased volumes of work, it is imperative that you have suitable finance options in place; otherwise you could be in a position where you are unable to serve new orders and may have to turn customers away. An Unsecured Business Loan can resolve a one-off timing issue but for a better ongoing solution consider Invoice Finance to ensure you have the working capital available when you need it.

Support staff – Whilst summer may be your busiest time of year, many of your staff will want to take holidays so make sure that you have enough temporary staff to manage the increased workload as well as cover staff holidays. Also consider bringing in students seeking work experience to supplement the team.  This will help keep up your service levels so customers come back again and again.

Build your team – At this critical time of year you may feel compelled to handle everything yourself, but appointing a reliable and trustworthy second-in-command will ease pressure on you during busy times. Keep them fully briefed on all aspects of the business so you can both lead your team with energy and enthusiasm and delegate some responsibilities.

Reward your team – Your business is bound to be more stressful during busy periods, which will reflect on your staff’s morale and performance. Keep them motivated by supporting them during the busy period and by rewarding them for their hard work.

Seasonal trading isn’t easy but with good planning and preparation you can make the most of trading over summer which will set you up for a successful new year.

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