We’re heading to year-end – and fast. As a small business, you’ll need to be prepared for the December/January break. Planning ahead will help ensure that your business runs smoothly – and remains competitive – during this slow time of year. Most small business owners are aware that things go quiet, but it can be incredibly stressful if you haven’t covered all your bases. Here’s how you can get ahead (and minimise cash-flow anxiety).

1. Mark your calendar

The best way to secure your business before year-end is by looking at your calendar. You may need to ‘double up’ now with work (including admin) to keep you covered over the quiet time – especially if you’re planning on taking a break yourself. Ideally you should factor this in at the beginning of the year, especially when it comes to your budget, as you’ll need to bring in extra clients before the holidays to make up for the lack of cash flow during the shutdown.

2. Hold an event

Holding an event during the run-up to the festive season can play a critical role in attracting new customers before everything closes. Events offer opportunities to engage with potential new customers, give some client-love to existing ones, and increase sales through specials. The event should be geared to secure new clients, and ensure their continued engagement with the brand into the new year. For instance, a yoga studio can hold a free class during the last week of the year to encourage January sign-up. Throw in some gift certificates too to spread the word about your business.

3. Get social

While it may be tempting to log off completely, staying active on social media during the December holiday season can help your small business gain much-needed attention (if you do need a break – we understand! You could also outsource this role to a marketing intern as a temporary solution). Again, you’ll need to plan ahead for this, so create that social media content plan now; keep it relevant to your industry and schedule a few fun posts, too. Even better, let your customers know via social before the season hits if you have any special offers coming up. While social is great, email is even better. Start targeting existing customers now by creating an email newsletter campaign geared towards the end-of-year period – you can use software like MailChimp to design and send out a campaign (free up to 2 000 email addresses).

Provided you’ve done some prepping, you’ll get through the December slow-down unscathed. As a small business owner, it can be very stressful during this period as everything grinds to a halt (unless you’re in retail, of course!). Need expert advice on how to cover all your bases for a seasonal slow-down? Contact Outsourced Finance; we’re here to help.