Secrets to successful school holidays for SMEs

School holidays can throw your work/life balance out the window, and having your kids at home requires a different set of priorities . Even if you don’t have children, this period can put business as usual on hold. A few customers will likely be out of town on their own school holidays, and your cashflow might be a little less healthy.

If you know that the school holidays are approaching, there are steps that you can take to ensure they are as successful as possible – for both you and your business.

1 – Prep for productivity

Plan your child care well in advance and look for recreational camps running in your neighbourhood. Take advantage of sharing the holiday responsibilities with your other half, or relatives who live nearby. Alternatively, connect with a friend who is in the same boat as you with children of a similar age. When it’s your responsibility to take care of the kids, ensure you are actively present – put your phone away and leave your business in the capable hands of someone else.

If you need to take your children to work with you, make sure that you have their activities planned so that you can concentrate on your customers. Play with your work schedule if you can: scheduled tasks that require concentration for after hours when the kids are asleep, and allocate a couple of hours each day to spend quality time with them. Consider starting your work day sooner if you can so that you can come home earlier – you will still achieve the same amount of work in a day.

2 – Avoid a cashflow calamity

Bearing in mind that your stream of clients might not be as steady during the quieter holiday periods, create a cashflow plan ahead of time. This should forecast revenue and overheads, so that you are aware of potential lulls before they happen. You also have complete visibility on where cash is sitting in your business, allowing you to make better financial decisions. Basically, should your business have to endure a lull, a cash-contingency plan will keep things running smoothly until things return to normal.

3 – Look ahead to new customers

While your regulars are away, why not focus on bringing in some new business? Follow up any client leads you’ve gathered in the past, and get in touch to market your services. A personal phone call goes a long way, and your brand will stay top of mind of those who may need your services later down the track. You can also branch out onto social media – Facebook is ideal for targeting specific audiences. Do this regularly, even when profits are at their peak, so you are prepared for any future lulls.

4 – Tackle the things you keep putting off

If the holiday period proves to be a bit quieter for your business, use this time to review your internal processes. Ensure that your business is operating as effectively as possible by addressing the following:

  • The technology you use – is it up to scratch? Is it accelerating your growth and performance?
  • The goals you set – are there long term strategies in place to reach these? Look at your numbers, set goals and work backwards to develop a sound strategy for the future.
  • Your online presence – do you have one? In today’s digital world, having a website and a presence across social channels is imperative if you want your brand to be recognised and trusted.

Anna Fitzgerald, Corporate Relations Principal, Prospa