It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The life of a small business owner can be demanding and a relaxing holiday season surrounded by friends and family could give you the breathing space you need after a hard year’s work. But before you take that well-deserved break, a little bit of pre-Christmas admin can go a long way! These five tips are designed to help you finish up 2018 in style and give your business a flying start in 2019.
1. Let clients know your availability if you're planning to take time off
If you want to have a proper holiday over the festive season, the last thing you need is a stream of emails and phone calls flying in while you’re trying to relax! Make sure you give your clients, suppliers and anyone else who may need to contact you plenty of warning before you down tools. Whether you set an out-of-office message on your email and phone or contact people individually, you’ll be far less likely to receive an unexpected call over your turkey dinner if you let everyone you work with know your availability.
2. Chase remaining invoices to get paid before Christmas!
If you’re planning on taking time off at Christmas, it’s highly likely that your clients will be doing so too - and that’s not great news if you’re still waiting to be paid! If clients are dashing to get everything done before the holidays start, they might overlook the outstanding invoice on their desk, which means that it could be well into the new year before they finally get round to paying you.
Start chasing these invoices now to make sure you get the money you’re owed before the festive break starts. If necessary, get on the phone and request payment in person but if you’re not comfortable having an awkward conversation about money at this time of year, FreeAgent’s invoice reminders which will automatically email clients and request payment for you! Find out more about invoicing in FreeAgent.
3. Set some goals for 2019
The run-up to Christmas isn’t just a great time to prepare for some much-needed downtime, it’s also a chance to get your business set for the year ahead. So, in addition to getting the last bits of work done before the holidays, why not carve some time out to set yourself a few 2019 goals?
Think about what you want to achieve once the new year gets underway. There might be a new business opportunity that you’ve always wanted to try, a new direction you’ve considered taking your business in, or you might just want to get more organised with your admin! Make a list now and start thinking about how you can turn those goals into realities when you return to work after the holidays.
4. Make a plan for January to get the new year off to a great start
If you really want to hit the ground running when you return to work, consider making a plan for January before you down tools in December. Unlike your aspirational goals for 2019, these should be specific tasks for you to complete when you’re back at your desk.
For example, you may want to get your tax affairs in order or tidy up all of those important documents you need to file. Or maybe you could finally set up that new business bank account you’ve been considering for the past few months? Whatever your plans are, write them down and leave them somewhere handy to give yourself a really productive return to work in January.
5. Make a start on your Self Assessment- or maybe even file it!
Even the most relaxing of festive breaks can be overshadowed by the looming spectre of Self Assessment season. So if you don’t fancy another stressful January where you’re racing against time to log your expenses, dig through your finances and get your tax return filed before the 31st January deadline, why not take some time now to get it out of the way?
Take a look at our Self Assessment guides to see what information you need and then make a start on gathering the data and filling out the necessary sections of your tax return. You might even find you can file it early! That way, you’ll be able to spend more time on your business once January gets underway.
Disclaimer: The content included in this blog post is based on our understanding of tax law at the time of publication. It may be subject to change and may not be applicable to your circumstances, so should not be relied upon. You are responsible for complying with tax law and should seek independent advice if you require further information about the content included in this blog post. If you don't have an accountant, take a look at our directory to find a FreeAgent Practice Partner based in your local area.