Following another disruptive year featuring construction starts and stops, material shortages and rising prices, there’s no doubt that those in the trades will be champing at the bit to take a much needed break this Christmas. Fergus has launched a four-point action plan to help hard working business owners get the festive season they deserve.
“To have a proper break, where you can really kick-back, relax and be present in the moment with family and friends, hinges on finishing the year well,” says James Chillman, UK Country Manager for Fergus. “You can do just that by ticking off the four steps in this action plan before you clock out for the year.”
- Confirm you can meet your financial commitments over the break
If you know you’ve got enough cash on hand to cover time away, then chances you’ll actually be in a position where you can switch off, slow down and enjoy the holidays.
If you have a few staff, it’s amazing how much the holidays can cost you over December and January. The best thing to do is contact your accountant or payroll person and ask them to work it out for you. You just have to know what you need, so you don’t get caught short.
While you’re sorting out your wage obligations, you also want to work out what you need to fork out for all your tax bills. There’s nothing worse than holding off until tax deadlines hit and then not having the cash to pay up.
- Send your invoices and chase payment
Hopefully, at this point of the year, you have already sent your invoices and know how much cash you will have at hand for the Christmas break. If you haven’t, this is your biggest priority right now.
While making sure all of your invoices are out the door is critical, actually collecting the money is what matters. You need to know whether you’ll be paid on time or not, so if you haven’t started calling your customers, do it as soon as possible. It’s likely your customers will be feeling the pinch of Christmas as well, so ask for clarity around when you can anticipate receiving payment. If you don’t have the time to call customers who owe you money, rope in a family member, friend or contractor to make the calls for you.
- Communicate your shutdown plan
Everyone needs to take a break, and while customers will be putting the pressure on to get things finished in time for Christmas, it’s unlikely you’ll close all your jobs out. With this in mind you’ll need to clearly communicate your holiday plans to staff and customers to manage expectations and avoid disappointment.
Your employees will need to know your leave requirements in advance so they can do their own planning. Customers will want to know your closure dates, as well as whether anyone from your team will be available for emergency call-outs during the break (and how they can get in touch).
- Get creative to bridge any cash gaps
Off the back of a turbulent year, there’s a chance some businesses won’t be in the position to take a long break. If this is you, you may consider a shorter break so you can bridge any cash gaps or simply line your pockets with some extra cash to start 2023 strong. With much of the competition closed, you may be able to win new customers by fulfilling emergency work. Another potential avenue for income could come from approaching larger companies in need of maintenance while their own offices/factories/warehouses are unoccupied.