No matter what industry you work in, the end of the year can be a busy time for both your work and personal life, which is why finding a balance is key to surviving this period.
Being busy is a great thing, after all we’ve all experienced slow days that leave us feeling lethargic, but working 12+ hour days isn’t something that we should be making a habit of either. When faced with inevitably long days and stressful deadlines, our healthy work habits just fly out the window as we push ourselves physically and mentally. Eventually something will give, whether that’s quality of service, finding the right solutions or most importantly your sanity.
This is why knowing how to handle yourself and your workplace during peak times is key to boosting the productivity of your business, we’ve created ‘The Small Business guide to: Surviving and thriving in the busy period’ so that you can turn this turbulent time into a thriving experience for all involved.
It’s ok to say No.
Nobody likes turning down business, whether out of fear of disappointing someone or even letting yourself down. If you’re a new or small business, saying no to work can often seem like a step backwards. It may seem easy to squeeze in an extra job, but if it requires out of hours work you need to consult your entire team. Burning the candle at both ends will put added strain on everyone involved.
Before moving forward you need to take account of what your company is currently dealing with, as you don’t want to sacrifice quality for quantity. Making sure you have the right resources is key to taking on new work, i.e. manpower, time and money.
And remember it’s ok to say no sometimes. Declining an offer positively, is better than trying to cram more work into time you simply don’t have. Instead explain that you’re fully booked up but express your interest in working with them in the future. Your services will appear in high demand, you’ll show good management skills and no one will suffer due to lack of quality or workplace happiness.
While you can’t foresee every wave of new business, there are certain times of year when you can anticipate the peaks and troughs.
For instance while Christmas for many signals a time to wind down, for others the influx of new opportunities leads to a final push of extra hours before a much deserved break. The success for most small businesses is reliant on how you choose to maximise your teams capacity at peak times, by using the quieter period to prepare you can reduce any unnecessary chaos.
Putting a plan in place for you and your team can ease the anxiety surrounding the upcoming busy stint. Consider the changes you may need to implement to support the added demand on your services, such as increasing staffing, resources, hours and planning your budget for those late night team takeaways. By inputting these into a plan you’ll be able to manage costing, project timelines and your positivity levels.
Manage clients expectations.
In these busy times it is not uncommon for client communications to be put under extra strain. This increase in business doesn’t mean your client relationships should suffer, where appropriate communicate any foreseeable changes. For instance if you know that delivery, enquiry or production times are likely to be extended then tell your client. People are less likely to get frustrated if they’ve had previous warning. For instance by letting a client know when you’re due to start work on their project and how long it is likely to take, you have automatically eased their minds which will result in less interruptions.
Keep your sites and information up to date.
Again this is all about managing people’s expectations. Keeping all your sites and social media accounts up to date with the latest information is a great way to prevent lots of enquiries that can waste you and your teams time. If there are any last minute changes you can simply put out live tweets or messages to help avoid poor customer communication.
Remember life beyond work.
Busier periods by definition mean more work for one person or another. When this happens it is far too easy to start spending all your time at work, with earlier starts and later finishes. I can’t stress enough how important it is to take ‘you’ time, especially in these busier periods. After all it’s you who works all the long hours, plans the busy days and pushes for those great results. Allowing time for breaks, exercise, a chance to have a life away from work will prevent you from burning out quickly. Enabling you to take on these busy stints full of confidence, energy and the right resources to succeed.
If you enjoyed this post or have any of your own tips about how to survive a busy work period then please leave a comment below.