Countdown to Christmas

Louise Attenborough, Chocolate Collective

Forget the 12 days of Christmas, as a small business owner the countdown to Christmas needs to start much earlier.  Being organised, prepared and informed will ensure a smooth run up and give you the headspace to maximise the many sales opportunities that the season brings.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing you daily pointers via Twitter using #Xmascountdown so you can manage your to do list day-by-day, rather than in a last-minute panic.  However, for those of you who like a short-sharp jolt to spur you into action, we’ve summarised them all here – our 35-day countdown to Christmas!

Day 35: Monday 21st Nov: Consider staff rotas and prompt any remaining holiday requests today so you can plan cover for the Christmas period.

Day 34: Tuesday 22nd Nov: Begin the process of adding to and cleaning up your database this week to ensure you’re ready for any Christmas mailings.

Day 33: Wednesday 23rd Nov: Make a point of processing any invoices today that you want paying before the Christmas break.

Day 32: Thursday 24th Nov: Review any marketing activity planned for the Xmas period; refine plans, assign project managers & agree on deadlines.

Day 31: Friday 25th Nov: If you’re planning to print & haven’t already, get your card designs off to the printer by today – you’ll need time to write them you know!

Day 30: Saturday 26th Nov: It’s close enough now, dress your shop window for the Christmas season, whether that windows on the high street or online!

Day 29: Sunday 27th Nov: Review stock levels, historical sales and ensure orders of popular items or anticipated best sellers have been placed ready for the month ahead.

Day 28: Monday 28th Nov: Prep any corporate gifts and plan when to distribute – stuck for ideas?  See our blog.

Day 27: Tuesday 29th Nov: Be aware that many printers close for the Christmas period – plan your project timings NOW to allow for this.

Day 26: Wednesday 30th Nov: Be part of your community and support your local Xmas lights switch on – it’s carols and lights in Didsbury Village tomorrow evening!

Day 25: Thursday 1st Dec: Mark the first day of Advent with a fun calendar in your place of work, then belly laugh as they wonder who’s eaten all the chocolate…

Day 24: Friday 2nd Dec: It’s officially allowed now, decorate the office as tastefully or garishly as you wish and consider treating everyone to a mince pie too!

Day 23: Saturday 3rd Dec: It’s Small Business Saturday.  Get involved or head out to your local high street followed by the West Didsbury Xmas lights switch on #shoplocal #communityspirit

Day 22: Sunday 4th Dec: Update your blog planner and map right through to the first two weeks of January – assign authors!

Day 21: Monday 5th Dec: Consider sending out your December e-newsletter before everyone’s inboxes get flooded with greetings, offers and well wishes!

Day 20: Tuesday 6th Dec: Remind staff of hours and cover expectations over the Christmas holidays to avoid any last-minute confusion or holiday requests.

Day 19: Wednesday 7th Dec: Don’t get caught out. Check the Christmas opening times of all your suppliers and create yourself deadlines accordingly.

Day 18: Thursday 8th Dec: Be organised and plan for any business travel over the next few weeks by buying your tickets well in advance.

Day 17: Friday 9th Dec: Don’t be beaten by the Christmas crowds, NCP allow you to pre-book parking over the Christmas period with a discount to boot!

Day 16: Saturday 10th Dec: Let your staff know they are appreciated. Plan or execute a little treat for them today. Even a small gesture can make a huge difference.

Day 15: Sunday 11th Dec: Take advantage of your good mood to reflect on business objectives for the New Year; it’ll be here before you know it & means you’ll hit the ground running.

Day 14: Monday 12th Dec: Issue a reminder to clients about your working hours over Christmas and clear the decks as much as possible this week.

Day 13: Tuesday 13th Dec: Take time to understand what bills will need paying over the next week or so and schedule BACS payments accordingly.

Day 12: Wednesday 14th Dec: Schedule posts relating to blogs planned for the next 3-4 weeks; one less thing to worry about #automate

Day 11: Thursday 15th Dec: Have a thorough delve into your inbox to check for any unresolved queries, requests or jobs so you have a clear view of work that needs completing over the next week.

Day 10: Friday 16th Dec: Take charge of your diary today and plan in meetings for the first two weeks of January 2016 to ensure productivity doesn’t suffer in the post New Year hangover.

Day 9: Saturday 17th Dec: Tackle that in-tray and create 3 piles; to file, to action now & New Year jobs – act accordingly.

Day 8: Sunday 18th Dec: Write your final to-do list to make the most of the next couple of days. Prioritise!

Day 7: Monday 19th Dec: Schedule in social media posts to cover you for the next couple of weeks. Try Hootsuite to get you started.

Day 6: Tuesday 20th Dec: Start a production line if you have to! Last day for 2nd class Royal Mail is today. Stuff those envelopes!

Day 5: Wednesday 21st Dec: Lick your last envelope, today is your last opportunity to mail 1st class Royal Mail.

Day 4: Thursday 22nd Dec: Submit your RTI submission to HMRC today to ensure pre-Xmas payday & have your staff revere you as a Christmas angel.

Day 3: Friday 23rd Dec: Take advantage of any quiet days by having an office sort, your resolved New Year self will thank you for it on the first day back!

Day 2: Saturday 24th Dec: Reflect on the past year; what would you do differently, what went well and what not so much? Make a note to tackle these…but first mulled wine!

Day 1: Sunday 25th Dec: As you sip that glass of Baileys or force down that last bite of Christmas pud, congratulate yourself on a job well done!  Merry Christmas!