How to survive all the public holidays


South Africa has no less than 12 public holidays throughout the year. That’s great for tired employees in need of a break, but it means 12 days of reduced productivity for business owners. Small- and medium-business owners often spend their holidays in a state of anxiety about these business dead zones.

How can entrepreneurs make the most of public holidays and keep their business running smoothly? By following a few simple guidelines, it’s easy to weather the downtime.

Don’t leave the planning until the last minute

The great thing about holidays is that they come but once a year, which makes them predictable and easy to work around. It is during the annual planning stage that business owners should start making allowances for public holidays.

Business owners must calculate how much lost production they might face and include, adjust, and amortise this amount over the working days. This means adjusting monthly targets and goals in order to avoid being caught off guard in those months with less days of productivity.

Keep the cash flowing

Managing cash flow is another critical element of planning for lost productivity. Invoicing and payment dates need to be brought forward, which naturally needs to be explained to customers beforehand.

The same goes for suppliers. Businesses should carefully check with partners if there will be changes to their payment cycles over the holiday period. Also check to see who the replacement contact person is in the event that the regular contacts are away.

Learn how to juggle staff

Keep in mind that the days before and after each public holiday are full working days. It is tempting to allow staff to leave early on the afternoon before a holiday. Should this have been part of the initial plan, then go ahead. If not, it’s best to avoid losing more production time than necessary.

Many staff also plan leave around these ‘quiet’ periods. When planning staff capacity, business owners must be careful to account for this. It’s important to make sure staff understand their new responsibilities to cover for the expected absentees.

The good news

There are few things that put a damper on an entrepreneur’s drive to grow their business more than burnout. Entrepreneurs should strive to enjoy their holidays as much as their employees. Taking some time off is vital to staying passionate about the business.

The best approach an entrepreneur can take towards public holidays is to treat them as a holistic part of their business. By anticipating and planning around these events, they can focus on recharging their mental and emotional energy.

And when they come back from their break, newly tanned and refreshed, they’ll be ready to take their business to the next level. Now isn’t that a great reason to stop stressing and book that plane ticket to paradise?

Harry Welby-Cooke

About the Author

Harry Welby-Cooke is the Co-Master Licensee of ActionCOACH in Southern Africa, the fastest growing and largest business coaching company globally. Harry developed ActionCOACH across South Africa which now boasts 30 franchisees. He is also a certified, leading Business and Executive Coach. He has successfully assisted countless business owners to significantly grow their profits and develop their entrepreneurial skills.


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Issue 58