December is always a busy time of the year, particularly for small business owners in the retail and hospitality industries. We’ve put together a basic end-of-year checklist to help ensure you’ve got all your business essentials covered before 2015 draws to a close.

Trading hours

Whether you’re looking to take a well-earned break over the Christmas/New Year period or you’re doing the opposite by extending trading hours in the lead up to the end-of-year rush, it’s important you finalise your trading hours and communicate them to your customers.

If you’re in retail put up signage in-store, post it on your website, share it across your social media platforms and encourage your staff to tell customers throughout the month. That way your customers will know, for example, what days your business will be closed or when to take advantage of additional late night hours.


From taking a holiday or spending Christmas with their family and friends, many people take time out in December. If you’re a business that’s not shutting over the Christmas/New Year break, then ask staff to get their leave requests in early. You may have to put some rules around when and how much time employees can take off, if it’s a peak period for your business.

Share the roster with your team well in advance so they can plan their days off or tell you if they can’t work a specific shift. Consider recruiting Christmas casuals if you know it’s an extra busy month. They can help fill any roster issues, make sure service is kept at a high standard and support your team so they don’t feel stretched or run off their feet.


There are plenty of public holidays to contend with come the end of the year. So make sure you’re organised. For example, have plenty of register change on-hand and ensure that pay cycles aren’t processed late due to bank closures.


Aim to have your accounts up to date and in order before the year’s out. Check in with your accountant and see what needs to be done. This could include chasing any outstanding accounts, settling any you may owe, or checking your PAYG installments or employee super payments are up to date. 

In case of emergency

As a small business owner you never truly get to leave work behind. Even if you’re not physically there, it’s likely you’re thinking about it. If you’re taking some time off, speak to your team and establish clear channels of communication and a hierarchy outlining who is responsible for what in your absence. For example, who to contact if they are calling in sick or which staff member will be fielding any complaints, in the absence of a manager.

Encourage your team to contact you if there are any issues they feel warrant your input or immediate attention – and leave them with the best contact details to reach you on.

It’s the time of year to plan ahead and be prepared, so get to it!

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