Using the Christmas break to reset your business


As we head into Christmas, it is time to reflect on what a roller coaster of a year we have all had. As you lock up your business and head into that special time of relaxing in the sun and enjoying your family and friends, switch off and recharge your battery. Once Christmas is over and things settle down, take time to think about the year ahead. 

In my opinion, there are two business dates to focus on:

  • 31 March which is the balance date of the majority of NZ (non-farming) businesses; and
  • 31 December being the last day of the calendar year

My focus would be on 31 December rather than 31 March because it gives you three months to achieve your target results before balance date and it gives you three months as a lead into setting the direction of the business and finalising operational and capital budgets.

It can be challenging for business owners to focus on strategy (direction of the business) while trying to manage the business on a day-to-day basis so that’s where the Christmas break comes into play.  As your head clears, you should feel calmer without the daily pressure.

Leadership and direction are key so analyse how this year has panned out, what can you do differently, consider changes you would like to make and where you want the business to be in 12 months, five years and 10 years.  Identify your stress factors and think about how you can reduce them.

While we hope the worst of Covid-19 is behind us, if we look to the Northern Hemisphere, there is every chance there may still be rough seas ahead.  So, factor this in to see what changes you may need to make to limit your risk.  Your risk analysis should include possible staff shortages, maintaining business culture with staff working from home, inflation, rising interest rates and shipping problems.

The idea of writing up business plans and strategy documents are often loathed by small business owners so perhaps do a work around – don’t worry too much about writing formal notes – just visualise and work on your thoughts.  As things come to mind just note key words or ideas down on a scrap of paper or a notebook.  Then once you are back at work, that will give you a great start.  If you have no appetite to formalise your thoughts into a business plan or strategy document, it is easy to have this completed by someone else who specialises in this area.

January can be a much slower month, business wise, and so why not use this time to make positive change with your team.  By starting off the new year with enthusiasm and positive change, this invigorates the staff – they follow your lead.

As the team come back after the holidays, work together to tidy the premises, review and update documentation, complete staff training and work on team communication.   

Spend January, February and March setting your operational and capital budgets in line with your thought-out strategy.   

Staff sometimes feel a bit flat once they return after the summer break but motivating them to get “other stuff” done works well for you and them.   A summer lunchtime barbeque is easy to organise and there is nothing like the boss buying the team ice-creams one hot summer day!  Happy Christmas – stay safe and be happy!!


About Author

Brenda Williamson

Brenda Williamson runs business advisory service Brenda Williamson and Associates www.bwa.net.nz