Prepare your business for the holidays with 5 questions

If you’re a business owner/manager you may be thinking about how to be prepared for the Christmas and New Year period. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself when running through your pre-festive season ‘To Do’ list. 

Does your business need a little something extra to tide it over till the New Year?

For businesses in retail or hospitality, the Christmas period is the busiest time of year. For others it’s a time of slowing down until customers return from Christmas and New Year holidays. Many business need extra cash to cover staff payments, holiday pay, overheads and service other debts while no income is coming in to the business over the festive ‘shut down’. Temporary overdraft facilities known as Temporary Ranges can help with covering costs over the Christmas period. These overdrafts can often be approved relatively quickly, and you can usually arrange to pay them off over a number of months, depending on the needs of your business. Get in touch with your bank sooner rather than later. It’s a busy time, so don’t wait till the last minute to get it set up.

Will your staff be paid on time?

Making sure staff get paid on time is important - everyone relies on their final pay cheque before Christmas to cover last minute costs and take them through to the New Year. Make sure you’re on top of your payroll requirements over this time, as it’s likely to be an ‘out of the ordinary’ pay run with staff taking leave days and including statutory holidays. Online facilities like EdgePayroll can be really helpful for making these payments easily from any location (so you can stay on top of your business’ needs if your summer holidays have already started).

Have your checked your insurance cover?

Many businesses require additional stock to keep running over the Christmas period. Make sure your insurance cover is sufficient to include this, and if you’re not sure, get in touch with your provider to double check. Better safe than sorry.

Will you need access to your business accounts while out and about?

Most banks will have a shut-down period over the holidays and, as with many businesses, will have reduced staff numbers in their contact centres. Be sure to get the mobile business banking app set up on your phone so you can keep an eye on your accounts and set up or authorise payments. 

Are the public holidays covered?

Most people get Christmas Day and Boxing Day off as paid statutory holidays, but if your business has to stay open (like call centre services or a restaurant) then you will need to agree in advance who is going to work on those days. Employees who work on these days would then get another day as a holiday.

Keep in mind that public holidays are separate from annual leave that’s taken by employees over this time. If your employees are on annual leave when a public holiday falls, the public holiday can’t be deducted from their annual leave.

You can require employees to take annual holidays during the closedown period - even if it means employees have to take time off for which they’re not fully reimbursed. You need to provide employees with at least 14 days advance notice of the closedown.

Ask the right questions to stress less

Regardless of how the holiday season impacts on your business, asking yourself the right questions will ensure you cover all your bases ahead of time. Put a plan in place to keep your business ticking along, and enjoy a stress-free Christmas and New Year holiday.