Dealing with the Great NZ Summer Holiday

Posted on December 13th, 2018 | Tags: Holiday

If you look at businesses in New Zealand, you will see that a lot of them close down for the two weeks of Christmas and New Year. With two public holiday days in each week, by the time you start things up again you have to shut them down, so better to be closed for the whole two week block and be done with it. But we live in an age of 24-7 sales where business doors are only closed when they have to be, and their websites run non-stop. Now you might be one of those businesses, and even if you are not, you still might be on call for clients. Which is fine, but if the other business that supply you the things you need are closed down for that period, that might leave you in a lurch. So we are going to discuss a few ideas of how you can prepare both yourself and clients for the great NZ Summer Holiday

Decide on full close or skeleton crew

Depending on the nature of your business, it might make more economic sense to be fully closed than to pay some staff to be there doing nothing.  If you are in a trade, you’re considered to be on call 24-7, the customer is not concerned if you want to spend time with your family, so would pay to make up a roster of people who could be on call for work, and just give them time in lieu or extra pay if they do have to go on site. Post the two week shut down, you might find that you have lower than normal demand so running a lighter team to deal with the first couple of weeks could make a lot of sense. 

Warn customers of your limits in availability and capability

This is a big one. People are more forgiving if you are going to closed, not able to do certain types of work, or will be slower than normal due to having less staff, if they know ahead of schedule. No one is more unhappy than a customer who tries to reach you only to find out that you’re not answering their calls because you’re closed. How you do this depends on the nature of the business. At a minimum put the information in as part of your email signature and setup an automated out of office reply that spells it out to them. Likewise put it on your voicemail system. As you will have a website you should have a popup or special message as soon as people land there to inform them of the changes in your operational routine. If you have a newsletter, make sure you have the information in that. Then there are signs on the business’s door, and even having small notices you can put with your normal paperwork. The key thing is to forewarn them, so they can plan their operations around you just like you have to plan your operation around your business partners.

Stock up before there is no stock

If you are reliant on materials or products to run your business then is important to have stocked up to cover your needs before the suppliers close. And we are not just talking about the time they are physically closed. Often suppliers will have supply chain hiccups or higher than normal demand in the weeks after they reopen. This can lead to them running out of supplies and having long lead times before they get more in. All of which can directly affect your ability to operate as a business. So calculate the stock you need, nor for just the Great NZ Summer Holiday, but for the rest of the month of January and order it in December before they close. It may well be the case you don’t need it there and then but you’ll use it in the end and better that to miss out income because you don’t have supplies on hand.

Offer deals for the quiet period of January

Often business are on a go slow as they are recovering from those two weeks off. It doesn’t help you keep your own profits up as the work dries up. You can get counteract this to a degree by offering incentives to prebook work in January. It has the advantage they can get things approved/prepaid before they shut things up for the year, and you get the guaranteed income to help cover the lean month of January. If your business isn’t able to pre book things, then plan sales and promotions that you can run during that period. Order marking material and arrange it to be delivered when you need it even if it’s printed months before. Online promotions are great for this period, as they have low setup costs meaning that even if you only get a very small number of sales from it, it will more than cover the costs of running it and it helps keep your business ticking over.

Put flexibility into your plans

This is one that most people miss. You can never quite predict how demand is going to be during the Great NZ Summer Holiday. While you can make educated guesses, the fact that people are on holiday means that things are always up in the air. Countless factors like, competing businesses, the weather, what has been the trendy gifts for christmas, big entertainment and sporting events, even the cost of petrol can all have an effect on what people do during that period. So build slack into your plans. What the slack you need depends on the nature of your business but here’s a few common ones. Have the ability to have staff on call to come in at short notice if you have unexpected demand. If you’ve stocked up supplies for the month beforehand then you have the flexibility you need there. Design some generic promotions that you can roll out quickly if the competition is doing things, even if it’s just on your website or facebook page.

Of course there are more things you can do to prepare for the Great NZ Summer Holiday. If you would like advice on what you need to do, then why not book time with us at Copy Express or our sister company Fuel Accounting to find out more