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Christmas Cash Flow for SMEs

The festive season is upon us and we’re all scrambling to get everything ready for the perfect Christmas once again.  Any small business owner will know that Christmas impacts small businesses in different ways.  Retail businesses often enjoy a sharp increase in sales in the run up to Christmas as people stock up with all the necessities for the holiday week or rush to buy presents for family and friends.  However, other businesses may find that they experience a decrease in both sales and production at this time of the year.  Today we’re going to take a little look at what small business owners here in the UK need to think about if they want to stay on track and make the Christmas period more enjoyable for staff, customers and themselves.

To begin with, get into the Christmas spirit and keep both staff and customers engaged with the festive feeling by decorating and creating a Christmassy environment.  You’ll be surprised at what a difference a few tasteful decorations can make.  While you’re at it, why not come up with some special Christmas promotions and offers for your customers?  Everybody loves a bargain so it’s time to get creative with your holiday promotion ideas.

Plan ahead for any extra expenses over the Christmas period.  Consider all the extra costs that are likely to come with Christmas parties and gifts for staff or customers.  Make sure you’ve taken the holiday pay requirements into account so that you avoid any penalty rates for late payment.  While you’re planning ahead, try to put off any unnecessary spending and expenses until later on when you cash flow has recovered from the festive season.

Keep track of your cash flow during the festive season.  Work out where your business is at right now by using small business accounting software if necessary.  This should provide you with a snapshot of what your usual cash flow cycle looks like and you can use this information to make informed decisions, not just during the holiday period, but at other times of the year too.

As a small business owner you’re bound to be working flat out in the run up to Christmas and have so much going through your mind that it can feel overwhelming at times.  There are so many things for business owners to consider, especially in the current, uncertain economic climate.   We see companies going out of business due to debt on a regular basis here in the UK and, as a business owner, you need to make sure that your business is not one of them.  The advice we’ve given here should help you to maintain a reasonably steady cash flow over the holiday season so there’s only one more piece of advice that we have to give you:

Don’t’ forget to take some time over Christmas to relax and enjoy yourself.  If you want time off, make sure that you let your staff know this and what’s expected of them during your absence.  Delegate some tasks to the most responsible staff members and leave instructions for the tasks that they can refer to in your absence.