Yay for the holidays!

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Yay! The holidays are nearly here — along with sun, families, parties, Christmas, fishing blah blah blah and humbug!!

Why is it all so “*#$!%! stressful!?” I can’t even think about holidays and Christmas yet. I have two jobs that have to be finished, that quote to get out so we have some work to come back to, two staff who want three weeks off, I have to find enough money to pay everybody and, OMG, what am I going to do without Doris in the office for two weeks?

How many times have I heard stories like this leading up to Christmas? If I had a present for every time, I would need a Californian Redwood, not a humble pine tree, to put them all under!
So why do we do this to ourselves? Why is it the same every year? Can it be any different or is it really “that’s Christmas and owning a business mate, suck it up”?

No, it doesn’t have to be this way. However, there will always be those last minute rush jobs and the extra strain on cash flow. So how can you reduce the stress and go into the holidays with the right frame of mind, with all your hair intact and reduced blood pressure?
It’s simple — planning and budgeting!
“Yeah whatever”, I hear you shout. It’s true, trust me, but it’s easier to say than actually do, and it does take a wee bit of discipline to pull off.

First, start thinking of Christmas in the middle of the year (I told you there was a wee bit of discipline involved).
Why so early? Well, this is the planning part and the budgeting.

Whenever we talk planning we set the end goal and work backwards. So write down these goals — what days are we stopping and starting work, what days will the troops be away, what work will we need to come back to, what jobs have to be finished and how much money will we need to pay everybody and be able to leave some in the bank?

Not huge questions, but will you actually know the answers to them in the middle of the year? Possibly not, so keep this as a fluid document and make changes to it as the year progresses and the work load changes.

Squirrel away the holiday pay
As for the cash flow side, if it is always a tight time at Christmas start squirreling away the holiday pay into a separate account.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of head down backside up, say yes to every job that comes your way and then suddenly when you come up for air realise it is December 18 and wonder why the troops are asking when the party will be. Again, that’s where the wee bit of discipline and planning comes in.

Once you have recovered from the shock of “it’s Christmas tomorrow? are you sure?”, the presents have been opened, you have made it to your holiday destination without a speeding ticket, you have managed to wind down and it is now only three days left until work starts again, take some time to look forward to the coming year.
Now is the best time to actually make a difference to your future. Whatever you want to happen can happen if you want it to and you plan to make it happen.

Planning should be a major component to any size business, or it becomes business by luck rather than design.
If you need some advice on planning and making your goals come through, give the team at Trades Coaching New Zealand a call on 09 945 4880.

Have a great Christmas break, especially the last three days when you have finally relaxed enough to enjoy it.