Along with the holiday season come exciting events, family gatherings, and seasonal shopping. But the hustle and bustle of the holidays can also stir up some tension for some. In fact, 38% of people report increased stress during this time of year. It can be a particularly stressful time for small business owners excited for a boost in sales but also feeling the pressure of the holiday business crunch.
Whether you’re trying to juggle family time, meeting with loved ones, Christmas cards, and presents all while running your own business, our team at Nextdoor can help. In this guide, we'll be covering a number of tips that will help to reduce your stress and anxiety while spreading holiday cheer.
#1 Get organized
Often, stress stems from uncertainty, especially when it comes to holiday plans. Loose ends can lead to extra worry so keeping your schedule neat and organized can go a long way when it comes to reducing stress.
End-of-the-year deadlines and office parties can quickly fill up your calendar, making it harder to get to your daily responsibilities. Plus, this time of year also brings holiday shopping, family events, and celebrating holiday traditions. When trying to de-stress this season, consider these organizational tips to keep your business flowing smoothly throughout the seasons.
- Manage your space – Have the holidays also brought clutter to your workspace? Whether you’re looking at a stack of unsorted packages or a desk that’s full from corner to corner, managing the physical space of your business could be a step in the right direction when it comes to tackling stress. Consider reorganizing the office, doing a deep clean, or getting rid of unused objects in order to utilize your space more efficiently.
- Keep your receipts in order – From purchase orders to expenses, it’s helpful to keep a handle on your receipts to eliminate unnecessary stress—especially during the busiest season of the year. Find an effective way to organize your receipts such as storing them in appropriately named binders or digital folders and you may find you have less to stress about.
- Consider going paperless– To cut down on the mess, you could try eliminating paper from your small business entirely. There may be other benefits from going paperless, as well. Jeremey Ford, co-owner of the Garage Grill in Draper, Utah, recently made the switch to a digital menu and speaks to the impact it’s made on the efficiency of his restaurant’s day-to-day tasks. “It’s so much easier to add a daily special or delete an item. If the cost of tomatoes goes up, I can adjust our price,” he says. “There’s a lot of value to the restaurant.”
- Plan ahead – See what you can do to plan out any major orders, deliveries, events, or special occasions that could take up your attention for the next three months. By having a reliable calendar to turn to, you can avoid the stress of not knowing what’s coming next for your business.
- Clean up your inbox – A congested inbox can mean extra stress, especially as the emails continue to roll in through the holidays. If you have several unopened or unanswered emails, start clearing out your inbox, responding when necessary, and tackling the abundance of emails one message at a time.
Business consultant David Mitroff highlights the importance of scheduling regular inbox clean-ups. He suggests setting aside three, 30-minute blocks of time throughout the day to focus specifically on email management. “This way I don't multitask and I can get through all my emails more quickly because I am actually focused on the task at hand,” Mitroff says.
Organization can extend to all aspects of your business. From simplifying your scheduling system to clarifying your policies, the holidays may bring complications but the more you work to remain organized, the better your chances are to beat back that seasonal stress.
#2 Stay on top of your supply
Whether you’re selling handcrafted dresses or hamburgers for the health-conscious, you’ll constantly have to have a handle on the supply of necessary materials or ingredients to keep your business running. The increased demand during the holidays can mean a need for increased supply. That can bring stress associated with making tough calls and complex decisions.
So how can you know what to order?
That can vary but there are a few methods to maintain your supply and stay on top of your supply needs, including:
- Tapping into previous year projections – Often the best way to make sure you have what you need for the holiday season is to look at the previous year’s sales. While every year is different, reference the past to get a gauge on what future projections might look like for this year’s busy season.
- Looking to your competitors – Comparing yourself to other local businesses can be useful for discovering what you might need on the supply side this holiday season. If someone is doing similar work to you, take the time to learn from what their holiday ordering plans might be. Do a bit of general market research to make note of seasonal trends within your industry. Search for an opportunity to attend an industry seminar that opens up a collaborative space for businesses to discuss supply chain strategies openly. Consider collaborating with your competitors to make the season a success for everyone involved.
By keeping a close eye on what you’ll need for this holiday season, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions and tailor your supply accordingly. The result? Inventory that meets the demands of your holiday customers and peace of mind for business owners who have done their research to be sure the busy season goes off without a hitch.
#3 Keep in touch with your customers
The holiday rush can mean a big boost in customer communication, from calls to emails to in-person conversations. It’s important to keep open lines of communication with your shoppers not only to provide a more positive customer service experience but also to generate valuable feedback that your company can use to make adjustments to your business plan. Finding ways to streamline this process will keep the holiday stress at bay.
A few ways to consider keeping up with your customers include:
- Making use of an online portal – Create a specific page on your website for customers to contact you directly by filling out comment boxes and choosing their specific needs from a drop-down menu. Instead of an inbox crammed with miscellaneous comments and messages, you’ll have a specialized form to keep your conversations organized.
- Connecting on Nextdoor – Tap into this neighborhood hub for stress-free conversations that can get you through the toughest holiday ordeals. By keeping in touch with your community through Business Posts and comment exchanges you’ll be more prepared to meet their holiday needs and assess any problems that arise.
Modern solutions to customer communication can allow your business to flourish during the holiday season. Plus, you can focus on your customers without taking on extra stress.
#4 Take some time off
While it may seem impractical to let yourself off the hook during the busy season, sometimes it can be exactly what you need to relax and return to work with a winning attitude.
Taking time off is useful for de-stressing and refocusing on your business, but if you’re wondering how to make it happen consider these tips:
- Delegate tasks – Remember, you don’t need to take it all on yourself. Create a work environment where you can delegate specific tasks to others on your team and trust they’ll complete them. It takes a whole group of contributing members to run a business, so take this as an opportunity to open the door for your teammates to step up and shine.
- Factor in PTO – Even if you’re a business owner, you’re still a kind of employee—albeit self-employed. If you give your employees paid-time-off opportunities, consider extending those benefits to yourself. Set up a plan to ensure things run smoothly in your absence and honor your time away from the workspace by turning off email notifications and checking in only in case of an emergency.
- Create more flexible hours – If possible, offer yourself and your employees the opportunity for flexible schedules. By giving yourself the chance to take a morning off and make it up by staying a little late, you might find yourself feeling less stressed when you think about going into the office.
- Work ahead to take time off – Make it easier on yourself by getting ahead on specific projects before you take time off work. That way, when it comes time to start your vacation, you’ll already have several tasks completed, leaving less to stress about during your free time.
A mental health day doesn’t just mean a day off. It can mean giving yourself a break and reenergizing for the future. Even if you’re not working, you can still be contributing to your business by taking care of your stress and giving yourself a little slack.
#5 Connect with your network
You may be so busy this holiday season that you’ll find it hard to keep up with what’s going on in your greater community. Don’t let the holiday rush keep you from connecting with those around you to build a stronger and less stressful business.
As Ty Watts, founder of Posh Candle Company says, “During stressful times, it’s important to know you’re a part of a community. I regularly connect with other women in Los Angeles, and across the country.”
When looking to connect to a greater network consider:
- Upping your social media game – Connecting digitally through your pre-existing social media profiles can be the fastest and most stress-free way to start interfacing with members of your community.
- Partnering with a local charity – Don’t know how to give back to your community? Try connecting with a local charity. By finding a way to get positively involved in your community, you’ll find meaningful connections and an even bigger reason to celebrate the season. Charity work can give you some much-needed relief from holiday stress by doing something thoughtful for someone else.
- Hosting a holiday event – Look to Richard A. Zuber Realty, a real estate agency based in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, for inspiration on this one. For the third consecutive year, they’ll be spreading holiday cheer throughout the community by hosting a neighborhood lights tour. Homeowners in the Boyertown area are encouraged to decorate their homes with lights, wreaths, and lawn ornaments of all sorts. Zuber Realty will award the top decorators in each category with a cash prize.
Real estate agents can take this as an opportunity not only to encourage a bit of extra fun and fanfare during the holiday season but also to boost local awareness for their agency.
- Reinvesting in your brand – If you’re finding it difficult to connect with your community, it may be partially because of your business’s branding. In the same way a new coat of paint can revitalize a room, a new branding style can be just the thing to bring new eyes to your business. Plus, a little brand renewal can reinvigorate and relieve the unnecessary stress of seeing the same old thing when you look at your business.
Start connecting and experiencing the big benefits of being part of something bigger, and if you’re really looking to make an impact in your community, we have one last bit of advice for you.
Keep the holiday season stress-free with Nextdoor
While we may know that it’s important to prioritize our mental health, sometimes it can be hard to put it in the forefront during the busy holiday season. With these helpful tips, you’ll have an easier time keeping your stress levels down to enjoy all the wonderful aspects of the holidays.
In the meantime, you might find the best way to de-stress as you plan for the holidays is by connecting with your community through Nextdoor.
Nextdoor is powered by your neighborhood. With 88% of members shopping locally every week, these are the people you’ll see in your business during the holiday season and well after. Claim your free Business Page, and start laying the groundwork for a stress-free holiday season.
APA. Holiday Stress. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2006/12/holiday-stress.pdf
The Salt Lake Tribune. It’s the end of paper menus, as Utah restaurants turn digital. https://www.sltrib.com/artsliving/food/2020/11/27/its-end-paper-menus-utah/
Paper City. A Realtor Who Truly Knows and Loves Houston — Lexi Sakowitz Marek Provides a Hometown Edge. https://www.papercitymag.com/real-estate/lexi-sakowitz-marek-houston-realtor-selling-buying-home/
Small Biz Daily. 4 Pieces of Advice from Business Owners to Survive the Stressful Holiday Season. https://www.smallbizdaily.com/4-pieces-advice-from-business-owners-survive-stressful-holiday-season/
The Sacramento Bee. ‘It’s all about democracy and housing.’ 8 Realtors helping Black Sacramentans buy homes. https://www.sacbee.com/news/equity-lab/representation/article253513884.html.
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