December is the perfect time of the year to take stock and re-evaluate what you have accomplished since January. It is the time of the year to look in depth at how your strategies have performed or failed. In my books it is the “month of measure” as we weigh up the facts, figures, failures and achievements that will help to determine what to do better the next year.
#Christmas is truly a testing time for small businesses as they rely on daily engagement to drive opportunity into paid income. Some cafes, bars and many other micro businesses will suffer from the loss of foot traffic this festive season. This loss of income will be felt all the way through until March 2016 as it generally takes a full month and half to get things back to normal. This period of declining income can be so severe that it forces some businesses into insolvency.
The logical advise would be to find ways to double your income before this quiet period but never the less, it is easier said than done! Pre Christmas planning is something small businesses tend to over look or do not calculate precisely enough. However all is not lost and even planning at this stage can be of tremendous value to keep your business afloat.
Here are my 6 pearls of wisdom to help reduce your stress and get you through the months of lean.
1. Take stock and look at what you can sell fast to generate liquid cashflow for January and February. Reach out to your client base and sell to them on a more personalised level.
2. Meet new people and work on engaging new clients that could convert into income at the very start of the new year. Be as active as you possibly can to maximise your chances of conversion.
3. Chase all your overdue accounts as you are probably being chased by your creditors at the moment. Make contact with your debtors and prompt them to pay before the shut down period. Pick up the phone and call as this will add a note of urgency to the outstanding debt. Get a firm commitment or at the very least a significant part payment on the outstanding debt. If you are unsuccessful look to referring these debtors to a debt collection agency as soon as possible.
4. Talk to your creditors before they contact you and try to negotiate longer payment terms to carry you through this time of lean. If you interact earlier they will be more accomodating to your circumstances and more flexible when negotiating. Contact your lenders and ask for an overdraft facility just in case you need it. All it takes is for one of your creditors to lodge a credit default against your name or worse, sue you, for things to really blow out of proportion and get out of hand very quickly.
5. Do not make any unnecessary purchases and be very cash savvy during this period. Only order the exact quantities you need to carry you through and negotiate deferred payment terms or plans. If you are successful at ordering later then it will elevate your immediate stress. Just make sure you have enough stock to carry you through, nothing more.
6. Plan, plan and preplan for the year ahead to place yourself in a more stable position. The months fly by so quickly and you could find yourself reliving this stressful cycle if you do not plan and provision correctly. Look to refine your business activities and provision for the future when income is flowing at a much steadier pace. Once you have a plan that you are happy with then re-energise, rejuvenate and reward yourself to begin the year ahead with a BANG!