Small business owners may see an increase in profits as the holiday season draws near. But there’s an increase in stress that comes with it. Whether you run an eCommerce business, tech solutions provider or some other kind of company, there are many extra tasks that go along with this time of year.
Below is a list of tactics and advice on how to have a stress free holiday season while keeping stress levels low for your team too.
Use Google Trends to Predict Busy Times
One of the most important steps in creating a stress free holiday season is to start planning for it early. For eCommerce businesses, for example, it’s possible to use online tools to predict when things are likely to become more busy. One tool called Google Trends lets you see when people normally begin searching for holiday gifts online, giving you a better idea of when you need to start planning your online marketing campaigns and other activities. Create a list of things you need to accomplish leading up to and during the holiday season based on some of these trends.
So how early should you start planning? Well, last year, Google Trends showed people starting to search for “Christmas Gift Ideas” starting in August, reports eCommerce University. It’s also important to make note of all the important holidays and major shopping events in your marketing plans, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Plan Time Off to Avoid Burnout
An American Express survey finds the number of small business owners willing to take a vacation from their business is dropping. Only 49 percent of small business owners planned even a full week of vacation in 2013. And that’s even less than the 54 percent who did so in 2012.
In many cases, this was probably because, during the summer at least, small business owners didn’t want to miss any of the business trickling in. It’s been a challenging economy so it’s easy to understand how small business owners sometimes don’t feel they can afford to take a week away.
But knowing the holiday season will almost certainly be busy anyway, there’s no excuse not to get away before the rush really gets started.
Refusing to do so can risk your business in another way. If you become burned out during the busiest time of the year for your business, you are likely to loose more money in the long run then you will by taking a much needed break.
Hire Some Extra Help to Avoid Burning Out Your Team
You’re not the only one who will need a break from time to time during the busy holiday season. There are several ways you can try to protect your team from being burned out during the holiday months. Enforcing some off work time and trying to keep your staff from handling emails while out of the office or from taking their technology home to work are all possibilities, reports The Washington Post.
But remember small teams especially are likely to take their work home regularly in a simple attempt to keep up. And with the holidays coming you will be busier than usual. One solution might be to hire some extra help during the holiday season. That way you can get done with what you need to without straining your staff to the breaking point. And over the course of a long holiday season, that can make a huge difference in employee productivity and thus in your success.
Get Holiday Gift Giving Done Early
Though many of the demands that may come your way during the holiday season are unpredictable, one, at least, is not. Many businesses send gifts to their clients, customers, and employees. So before the end of the year rolls around, you should think about who you need to send gifts to and when. Also take time to consider business gift giving etiquette ahead of time so you won’t need to deal with these issues during the holiday season.
Take Time to Celebrate
Finally, don’t forget to give yourself and your team some time to celebrate after making it through another challenging holiday season. You don’t have to put a lot of time and energy into planning an elaborate party, especially if you don’t have a lot of time or money to spare. But you and your team both deserve a reward for making it through the holidays successfully.
Be sure to set a time aside that you and your employees can look forward to. You’ll also want to plan some time for both you and your team to recharge and get back to normal before getting back to work following the holiday crunch.
Stress Photo via Shutterstock