Try googling “preparing your business for Christmas” and you’ll see there’s oodles of advice for product-based businesses. When it comes to service-based business Christmas and year end preparations, things get a little more vague.
For those of us who provide a service, it’s not as simple as just putting up an out-of-office (though you certainly shouldn’t forget to do that). We need to be conscious of businesses slowing down for the silly season and ensuring we’re still driving those sales.
Since I’ve recently been reminded there are only days until Christmas (!) and thanks to my seriously lacking, aforementioned google search. For you, I’ve put together – The 12 Days of (service-based business preparation for) Christmas!!
- Plan your calendar – the lead up to Christmas brings with it the inevitable flurry of invitations and celebrations. You neither want to miss them, nor have your work suffer so take the time to plan it out so that you are not missing out on the fun by double booking with clients. If there’s a lunch-time do, get ahead of it by working a little later the night before or cracking on earlier than usual that day. That way, you’re guaranteed some guilt-free fun.
- Have an End of Year Offer – like I mentioned earlier, many businesses start to slow down now but this doesn’t help your monthly budget. Capture their interest with an offer too good to refuse. Make sure it has an expiry date and conditions that ensure you’re capable of meeting the increased demand.
- Update your clients – nothing takes the wind out of your proud business sails than having to turn down a regular client because you’re too busy. Keep your clients up to date on office closures and what your availability is. Give them an idea of how much time they have if they’re hoping to have work completed by Christmas or the New Year.
- Take bookings for next year – you’ll be able to relax on your time off knowing you have work lined up for you when you come back into the office. You and your clients will love the forward planning of having those projects mapped out and ready to go.
- Offer gift vouchers – why should department stores have all the fun?! Help your clients get what they really want from Santa this year by putting together some fun and creative vouchers for them to use on your services in the New Year.
- Arrange gifts or cards for valuable clients – you don’t need to make this an expensive or overwhelming exercise. A simple card or a small token of your appreciation is more than enough but it’s a really lovely idea to acknowledge your clients’ loyalty.
- Have a New Year Offer – get ahead of 2019 and start pre-promoting your offers for the New Year. You don’t necessarily have to give away all your secrets but generate some interest by giving clients a sneak peek or, at the very least, letting them know that you have something exciting coming.
- Update your pricing – what better time than the New Year to freshen up your prices? Before you start to doubt yourself and whether or not you can charge more. Put simply, you have a whole extra year of experience under your belt now; it’s time for an update. Make an announcement to your clients and give them a chance to book your services before the increase kicks in.
- Organise a party – again, it doesn’t have to be over-the-top or lavish, getting together for quiet drink is sufficient. Either way, it’s nice to spend time with your customers, outside of the work environment to celebrate the end of the year and thank them for their support.
- Schedule ahead – where possible pre-plan your newsletters or social media posting to ensure you maximise your time off. At the very least, update your phone voicemail and email auto-response so that your well-deserved cocktail by the pool is not interrupted.
- Update your website – if your FAQs and services are abundantly clear on your website and customers have the option to contact you via email or a contact form, you won’t have to worry about missing out on new business. Simply set up your auto-response assuring them you’ll get back to them as soon as you’ve returned to the office. And if your site has any references to 2018, now is probably a good time to update them!
- Switch off – you’ve worked hard this year and in the time completing the previous 11 steps, you deserve some time off! Once you turn off your computer, allow yourself to switch off from work too and enjoy the time with your family and friends.
With these 12 Days of Christmas completed, your service business will be ready for a productive December, a relaxing festive season and perfectly set-up for a flourishing 2019!
If you need any help organising your Christmas strategy for your business (or your planning for 2019!) don’t hesitate to reach out.