The 12 Days of (Business) Christmas

12 days of business Christmas engine room

As we come into December, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you of a few things we like to call the 12 Days of (Business) Christmas. We hope to ease the stress Christmas can cause for some with a few careful preparation tips.

As a business owner/operator, managing the workflow and staff over the next few months doesn’t have to be stressful.

Check-off our 12 days of Business at Christmas to make sure you’ve got everything covered:

  1. Annual Closedown

Closing for the holidays? Make sure staff get at least 14 days’ notice. They are entitled to statutory holidays on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and 2 January, and paid or unpaid leave for the rest of the any closedown period. If any employees have accrued a large amount of leave, Christmas is a good time to encourage them to use it. After the year we’ve all had, everyone will have earned a rest this Christmastime.

  1. Staying Open

If you are staying open plan your staffing well in advance. At the very least you’ll need someone to cover the essential tasks (like payroll, clearing voicemail). Make sure skeleton staff have “emergency” contacts for relevant managers and suppliers in case anything goes wrong and ensure you staff can open and lock up securely.

  1. Extra Staff

If you plan on keeping up a full service, start thinking now whether you’ll need to take on extra staff – casual, part time or fixed term. Even if you take on casual staff they will need employment agreements. See www.employment.govt.nz for guidelines on casual employees and what you need to know.

  1. Tax: Gifts & Entertaining

Staff Christmas functions are 50% tax deductible; staff gifts are 100% tax deductible as long as total annual cost per person is below $1,200/year to avoid Fringe Benefit Tax. Client gifts of food and drink are 50% tax deductible. Check out the guide from the IRD here.

  1. Telling your Customers

Alert customers of your seasonal hours to avoid any misunderstandings. If you have orders to fulfil let your customers know of any delivery delays that could be expected. A quick and easy way to communicate your holiday hours is to use your website, social media accounts and your Google My Business listing. Don’t forget to update your voicemail to reflect the days you won’t be working.

  1. Managing Stock

Christmas stock orders needn’t be daunting. Prepare a stock forecast by looking at sales records or your stock system.  (Note: if you haven’t got a stock system or method of obtaining accurate sales records, add it to No 11 on this list!). Look into flexible stock options available to your business, like consignment stock or stock lines available at short notice.

  1. Important Dates

January: 15th – GST and provisional tax due, 20th – PAYE, Quarterly FBT 29th – PAYE and ESCT
February:  7th – End of Year Income Tax (for those who don’t have a tax agent), FBT. 20th – PAYE,.

  1. Bargains at the Sales

For some, Christmas is still synonymous with “Sale”, even with the import of Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Before you join in, consider the impact that discounting will have on your profit and customers: you may not get the returns you expect and your customers’ impression of your value may greatly decrease. Try adding to perceived value, rather than decreasing price. We have a handy Volume/Margin trade-off calculator available to help you see costs associated with discounting more clearly. Email us to request it.

  1. Existing Customers

Christmas is a great time to thank customers and remind your customers of the bond they have with your business. Why not send a promotion out to your client database or offer free Christmas nibbles at your store.

  1. Taking Time Out

At the very least, take a few days off work and recharge. If you need to keep an eye on things, Cloud systems like Xero are great for keeping in touch with the business while you’re out of the office. If you need recommendations on cloud software or apps please let us know. We are happy to help.

  1. New Year’s Resolutions

Reflect on the year that’s been, what you achieved, what changed, what could still be changed for the better. 2020 forced us to change some of our behaviours due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but some behaviours could be worth making habit. Look ahead to 2021: where do you want to be in 12 months’ time? Set goals and talk them through with your advisors and staff.

  1. New Year, New Customers

Over the holiday period think about what you’re doing to attract new customers. Why should people buy from you over others? What is your point of difference? Where are you advertising and is it working? Maximise your existing customers; how can you find more like them or upsell more? Have you asked them for referrals?

And remember –

Keep Calm, it’s only Christmas.