If you’re running a small business and are hurtling towards the end of year faster than Santa’s Sleigh, then it might be time to stop and smell the reindeers before you literally have a pre-Christmas melt-down (and that’s even before the snow falls). OK so, we’re in the Southern hemisphere – but you get the drift (excuse the pun!)
To celebrate the silly season minus the stress, we spoke with PR and events expert, Deborah Ivison, director of Sydney PR consultancy, Bay Public Relations, to share her top tips on making the most of the pre-Xmas countdown.
If you are a sole operator or have a small team, then it’s all hands on deck all day every day, without the added task of organising a staff or client get-together. This is where planning can come in. Decide ahead of time what you need to do to enjoy some Christmas cheer with staff and clients then schedule it into your calendar or diary well and look for an office space for rent in advance. That way, you can plan work tasks around it and make the most of your lunch or dinner when it comes around, without worrying about unfinished tasks or deadlines.
This is the one time of year when it’s really important to take time out for yourself, to acknowledge your employees and to connect with clients informally over a relaxed meal and celebrate your successes. Investing in your relationships is just as important as ticking off endless tasks on your ‘to do lists’ and your clients/team members will thank you for it.
Cut Your Cloth
If you are a start-up or small operator, then don’t put pressure on yourself to compete with bigger companies in your industry to choose an expensive restaurant or organise an extravagant team building event. Be true to yourself and where you are at professionally by choosing the venue or activity that suits your company right now. If you have a business expansion plan in place, then there’s plenty of time to be the host or hostess with the most, but now may not be the time. This is where it’s wise to set a budget for Xmas entertaining expenses – sometimes after work Xmas drinks and snacks at a popular pub or wine bar can hit the sweet spot for clients and staff – without breaking the bank.
If, like many small operators, you have hot-desk, virtual office or share an office with other small businesses, then Xmas can be the perfect opportunity to get together and let your hair down over a mince pie and a glass of champers – you never know, you may meet your next client or fabulous supplier – or may simply enjoy a great connection with a co-worker on a sociable level which is something that many sole traders or small business operators can often miss out on. Having genuine connections with other people at your place of work can make a huge difference to your day and give you a sense of involvement that can be so rewarding.
End of Days
As a business owner, I know too well the ‘push pull’ feeling I get as the Christmas holidays loom ever closer. Resist the urge to tell clients that you are still ‘on’, checking emails and that you’ll be back on deck first thing 27 December. In my experience, clients expect you to take a break – and so don’t feel guilty – take it! But make sure everybody knows you’re taking it and for how long. Tell them when you are closing the office – then close it. Put your out of office on so everybody knows you are on vacation, then kick back, relax, hang up your stocking and enjoy a well-deserved break with family and friends. That way, you will come back to work in the New Year refreshed and ready to kick some goals!
Happy Christmas and here’s to a prosperous and successful 2018 to all our friends at Anytime Offices!