I know this is no surprise to you, but the holidays come around every year. Just like your birthday and your anniversary. You have plenty of time to plan ahead for saving up to buy gifts and for taking time off. But every year, it seems like it sneaks up on you. Right?
It doesn’t have to be that way and the last two months of the year do not have to be the most stressful of the year. All it takes is a little bit of planning for Parkinson’s Law.
First, let’s take care of this year’s holiday season; it’s right around the corner. How can you be ready for those last few weeks of the year–both financially and with tasks and projects?
And since we all know that what’s going on in your personal life bleeds over to business and vice versa, we’re going to talk about both.
Start Where You Are
Most people put the holidays and vacations on credit cards. Let’s break that cycle. If you haven’t been saving for holiday purchases, start now. (Better late than never!) You may not have a lot to set aside, but something is better than nothing. And you can find creative ways to gift your friends and family with what you have–instead of what you can put on plastic.
At the same time, we usually spend more money on groceries and eating out in November and December so it might be smart to watch your spending in other areas to make up for that.
Also remember that you don’t have to buy gifts for everyone, and you don’t have to spend money to show appreciation. Sometimes just some quality time together is gift enough. Some families draw names so they don’t have to buy gifts for everyone. Others get gifts just for the kids, since the adults can just buy themselves what they want. Here are some other ways to make the most of the money you have.
In your business, find unique ways to show your appreciation without impacting the bottom line. That might look like some paid leave for employees during your slower months. (If you have a subscription-based business plan, your revenue will stay the same so there’s no hit to your bottom line.)
And as for the work you need to get done before taking off for the holidays, remember Parkinson’s Law. And fight it!
First, make a list of priorities and know what you can delegate to others or let go of completely. Then set a schedule for yourself to get the work done. Actually plug it into your calendar so you don’t overbook yourself and you actually have time to get the tasks done.
You may also want to find an accountability partner who can hold you to your schedule. That could be a biz bestie or a team member who is tasked with checking up on you. (It works!)
Plan for Next Year
Once we’re past this holiday season, January 1 is not too soon to plan for the next one. In fact, we recommend this! You can Profit First your personal finances so you have money set aside when it comes time to shop, set a holiday budget, and do some creative things to cut your expenses so you can increase your holiday budget.
In your business, create a business that allows you and your team to take time away so everyone can enjoy the holidays. This looks different for different businesses, but some ideas include:
- Build out a subscription model. Clients pay a monthly fee for your services, whether they use them or not. You won’t see a dip in your revenue when things slow down over the holiday months. And fewer clients to see means you won’t have to work as much!
- Create tools clients can use at home. If you’re in the fitness industry, this could look like at-home workouts. If you’re a wellness practitioner, this might be mindset work and meditations. Think about how you can serve your clients without being face-to-face with them? That way you’re still providing value even if you’re technically not working.
- Do a Profit First assessment on your allocations. If you want to have a certain amount set aside to make up for a slower season, you might want to adjust your allocations so the money is there when you need it. And we recommend having three to six months of expenses set aside…just in case.
- Don’t feel like you need to buy for your team. It’s so hard to buy for people we only know professionally. Sometimes the best gift for your team is a year-end bonus using your profit distributions. After all, December 31 is profit distribution day anyway!
In the end, it’s important to have your mind and your pocketbook prepared for what’s coming up. We can’t prepare for everything, but we can prepare for the things that come every year–taxes and the holidays.
Use your Profit First accounts to your advantage and never feel like you’re scraping together funds for “emergencies” (because you forgot to save for the holidays).