It’s that time of year again! Black Friday is right around the corner along with turkey dinners, spiked eggnog, holiday decorations, and sharing good cheer! As business owners, it also means planning for a multitude of differing seasonal activities.
Before you break out the tinsel and twinkle lights, here are five things to consider to prepare your business for the upcoming holidays:
1. Create a marketing plan | The holidays are a great time to have fun with your marketing strategy and engage with customers to convey that your business is celebrating too! This may include holiday themed social media posts, seasonal merchandising strategies, sending greeting cards to loyal customers and suppliers, and offering volume purchase discounts. Don’t be afraid to think outside the gift box. To be successful, you want to plan out your marketing strategy beforehand. Doing so ensures that you have all your materials ready to go and that messaging stays consistent.
2. Map out your holiday sales | Do you plan to participate in Black Friday or Small Business Saturday? Will you be offering special discounts, coupons, or adjusting prices? Keep in mind that while offering special discounts may help to boost sales, it will also affect profit margins. To ensure that you’ll still meet profitability objectives, play around with your sales forecast to show how you’ll reach the desired sales volumes.
3. Adjust you inventory | One of the trickiest parts of the holiday season is estimating demand. Many business owners make the mistake of not adjusting for seasonal spikes, which can mean running out of inventory. To avoid this, align your marketing strategy with your inventory projections. Reach out to suppliers to discuss your needs. This may include negotiating shorter lead times, better pricing and longer payment terms.
4. Consider extra help | If you are expecting significantly higher sales volumes, what will this mean to your operational capacity? For retail businesses, bringing on temporary sales staff is a common practice during the holidays. However, will you also need additional back office administrative help? For online sales, will adding IT staff help to ensure that your website can handle increased traffic? How about help from a financial advisor or accountant when you’re developing holiday sales projections, as well as tracking and reporting outcomes against last year’s performance? Understanding that these and many other types of skilled workers are available through someone like Kelly Services can mean huge savings of time and money, particularly during the holidays.
5. Set your vacation time | Last but not least, the holidays are a time for family and fun! Just because you own a business doesn’t mean you have to miss out on this. Start thinking about when you would like to take time off to celebrate, as well as your staff. Having a well-planned out staffing schedule now will ensure that you have the capacity to meet holiday demands and take time off to celebrate and enjoy the results! It may also include providing customers and other stakeholders with advanced notice of when you’ll be unavailable, which will help them plan accordingly.
The holidays are a time for good cheer. By making your own list and checking it twice (maybe even three or four times 🙂 ), you will be well-prepared to enjoy your holiday season while also taking advantage of new and increased business opportunities.