December is a challenging time for SMEs. Customers don’t want to pay their bills on time. Suppliers want their invoices prioritised. There’s less time to do work and extra Christmas-related outgoings rear their festive heads.
But I have one word for you all. Planning.
None of these are unexpected or one-off factors. Any well-constructed business plan will account for the pressure they place on your work and cashflow. Get ahead of the curve, and make sure your customers and suppliers already know who will get paid and when.
Make a new festive ritual
There is one other Christmas tradition that I’d suggest building into your annual plan – giving. I’m not talking about my top tips for your kids’ presents. I’m referring to charitable donations.
Here, at Haines Watts, we find that raising funds for our favourite causes brings a host of benefits all year round – but especially in the run up to the holidays.
Yes, there are financial reasons to give – from Gift Aid to tax breaks – but we believe that running a business is about more than just numbers. It is about people, so it’s natural to extend that ethos outside of the organisation at this time of year.
And it can be so simple to do. One of our staff members decided to send Christmas messages by email this year and donate the money she saved on cards and postage. Others have decided to give small amounts all year round, tax efficiently, by donating though their wage.
Our office has joined the Haines Watts national Christmas campaign this year to collect and support local foodbanks and we’ve also collected toys on behalf of Home-Start Herefordshire.
While it’s not easy to place a value on the camaraderie and office buzz that comes from taking time out to do charitable work together, the life perspective it offers us all is invaluable.
So, talk to your advisor about how you can build giving into your business plan in 2018.
As this is my last blog for 2017, I wish you all a very merry Christmas and look forward to sharing my thoughts with you once again next year.
How will your business give back in 2018?