Overwhelmed CatDo you find that the holidays are a stressful time of year? Each year it seems like we have more and more to do and less time to do it. Before we know it the holidays are upon us. For many pet business owners this time of year is one of the busiest as pet owners are travelling to visit family and friends and leaving their pets in our care.  Pet supply retailers are also busy selling Christmas gifts – the pets need treats too!

Here are some tips to help ensure that are don’t feel overwhelmed or burnt out this holiday season.

1. Determine early which staff members are available to work over Christmas and New Year. If you work with contractors you may need to offer them incentives to stay and help out. One idea for an incentive is to offer them extra pay on Christmas and New Years day. You can pass this back to your customers or choose to take less profits yourself for these two days.

2. Work out how many hours or visits you will be able to do per day and write this in on your planner. Have this plan in place before you start to take bookings and do not be tempted to take more bookings or work than you know that you can reasonably achieve.

3. Write a list of everything you plan to or need to accomplish by the end of 2007. For example writing and sending cards to customers, writing a newsletter, sales calls you need to make, getting new business cards printed etc. Having this list down on paper will let you prioritize tasks, relieve your worry about unfinished tasks, and let you plan to spread the important tasks across the remaining weeks.

4) Work out what on your list can be done NOW to prepare for the holiday rush. Can you order cards or write and address them today, print forms that you will need, or make other preparations that will make the busy times less hectic. Getting something off your list right away will give you a sense of accomplishment and relieve stress.

5) Organize your Christmas celebration with staff or customers early. Keep it simple and hire caterers to relieve you of some of the planning and last minute work.

6) Prompt your clients to make sure they book early and warn them that you can only accomodate so much on your schedule before you start having to turn down orders or bookings.

7) Discuss your holiday business commitments with family and friends so that know not to expect you to attend an 8 hour family celebration. Make sure you make plans together so that you can spend time with them and also complete your work tasks. Talking with them upfront can avoid misunderstandings and expectations that can lead to tension and stress.

Just a few tips to help you enjoy the holidays while you grow and manage your pet business! My inspiration for this post came from an article on Lynn Terry’s blog – 3 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed. A good read to keep on hand!

Please leave some comments with any other advice that you can give based on your holiday experiences.