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Chris Bell

What your business needs to survive this winter



Winter is just around the corner now, and as temperatures plummet and nights draw in, so it is time to take a moment to make sure that your business is well equipped to cope with the seasonal vagaries that are coming our way. Here are five areas to which any business will need to pay need careful attention over the coming winter weeks.

Seasonal focus

Ask anyone involved in marketing or advertising and they will tell you that one of the best ways to sell stock and increase sales is to tap into what’s happening in the wider world around you. Winter has many seasonal ‘hooks’ that you can take advantage of, not least Christmas. Set up a festive sales strategy to inspire people in the run-up to the big day and work out some attractive product or service offers to draw in the seasonal sales. Many people also use the approach of a new year to reassess their priorities in business and in life, and this could also be a good way to increase sales in the weeks leading up to January.

The taxman cometh

Another key deadline for businesses of all sizes, as well as self-employed people, trustees and sole traders is 31 January, when tax returns and related paperwork must be filed with HMRC to avoid hefty fines later on. These next few weeks are vital for any business that has not yet finalised its tax return administration. Gathering all the information that is needed to complete the paperwork can be taxing in itself, if you’ll pardon the pun. So, investing in software and tools that can help you capture, sort and file vital information, such as expenses receipts software is a really good idea. Receipt Bank offers an intuitive, effective way to photograph receipts on the go and then automatically find, sort and store the relevant financial details in a way that is compatible with accountancy software and HMRC tax reporting requirements.

Successful salesforce

Winter is also an important time to keep up the momentum in your sales figures, as the Christmas break and many of your customers taking annual leave is bound to eat into your available profit-making time. A top-performing sales force is therefore crucial to keep the money rolling in. This is just as true for service-based and technology businesses as it is for manufacturers. Many people look for new job opportunities in the new year, especially in fast-moving areas such as the IT and software industries, so linking up with a software sales recruitment agency now would be well worth your time for an easier transition into 2020.

Happy, healthy workforce

Your people are your company’s greatest asset, whether they are salesforce, administrators, accountants, managers or makers. Making sure that they are fit, healthy and ready to work this winter is key to your business’ survival. Carry out a full health and safety assessment of your premises to make sure that there are no potentially dangerous areas being overlooked or work practices going unchecked. Make sure that you are aware of any and all disclosed health conditions amongst your staff and that you are offering the correct adjustments to their working conditions. Watch out for problems with people’s mental health too as the darker evenings and colder weather can seriously lower people’s mood and affect their ability to cope with difficulties.

A weather eye

The cold winter weather can also affect more than people’s moods. If you have a lot of stock, take care to protect it from getting damaged by winter conditions, such as rain, frost and snow. Keep your warehouses in good repair and tackle any areas showing damp, as well as cracks in the fabric of the building that could let in rain. Pay attention to frosty and icy roads when moving your stock and aim to reduce road journeys to the minimum, or temporarily suspend them wherever possible, in particularly adverse weather conditions. This applies to service-based industries too; keep your sales force safe by ensuring that they don’t make unnecessary journeys in the car during icy conditions. Take advantage of video conferencing and online meeting facilities if you do need to keep important appointments during a cold snap.