The 12 Days of (Business) Christmas

Dec 25 Christmas day on calendar

We usually like to send out our 12 Days of (Business) Christmas at around this time each year.  The 12 tips below are still relevant and are timely reminders of things employers and business owners need to plan for – especially taking time out for yourself!

  1. Annual Closedown

If you’re closing down for the holidays make sure staff get at least 14 days’ notice in writing. 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.

  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, admin, opening/closing details). Make sure skeleton staff have “emergency” contacts for 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 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, send an email, and update your social media accounts. 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

Check out the Key tax dates on our LinkedIn or Facebook page or visit the IRD website for their key tax dates and calendar.

  1. Bargains at the Sales

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a few sales. 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 special promotion out to your client database to encourage spending in the new year.

  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 help navigating Xero we provide support and training. Check out our Xero support page.

  1. New Year’s Resolutions

Reflect on the year that’s been, what you achieved, what changed, what you could still change for the better. Where do you want to be in 3,6 or 12 months’ time? Set goals and talk them through with your advisors and staff. How can we help with this?

  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!  Happy Christmas to you, from the Engine Room team.

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