The holiday season is fast approaching—is your small business ready? If not, don’t sweat it. We have 5 simple steps to help you prepare your business for the holidays.
1. Decide when you will close and announce those dates.
The first thing you need to do is decide when your business will close for the holidays.
Many businesses opt to close on major holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you can, though, it’s a nice gesture to your team to close the day before and the day after Thanksgiving as well as on Christmas Eve. It gives you and your staff a better opportunity to truly enjoy the holidays. But of course, you know best what your business needs—so choose closing dates that work for you.
If you have a physical store, that might mean hanging up the “Closed” sign. But if your business operates mostly or entirely online, that requires setting aside days when you and your team won’t do work.
If you’re an online business, it’s important that you make these holiday closures just as clear as if you were a brick-and-mortar store. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you don’t get days off. You may want to send an email to all your clients or email subscribers at the start of the holiday season to tell them which days you and your team will be unavailable. You should also announce closures on your website and social media.
2. Market your holiday sales.
Don’t save your holiday promotional plan to the last minute. If you haven’t already mapped out your holiday sales and how you’ll market them, do so as soon as possible.
The best promotions are planned in advance with a cohesive campaign to spread the word about your amazing deals and discounts. Come up with a creative twist that will help you stand out from the crowd. Just remember: Don’t let the creativity of your campaign distract from making it clear how you help your customers!
Need some inspiration for your holiday marketing? Check out these 19 holiday campaigns compiled by HubSpot.
3. Plan ahead for the shopping rush.
We all look forward to the extra business we get during the holidays—but are we properly planning for it?
Now is the time to order extra inventory for your best-selling items. If you ship physical products, order extra packaging materials. And if you have a brick-and-mortar store, you should stock up on toilet paper for your bathrooms, bags for your checkout counter, and holiday-themed gift cards.
Don’t forget to plan your team’s holiday schedule. You may need staff to work extra hours to help with the holiday rush, so schedule that ahead of time so no one is caught off guard.
4. Prepare your business for the holidays by training your team.
Speaking of creating your staff’s schedule, you should also make sure that everyone on your team is fully trained for the job. Holidays might be when you need the extra manpower, but it’s not necessarily the best time to hire a ton of new and unexperienced employees. After all, the frenzied work creates a steep learning curve.
Take time now, before business operations get crazy, to fully equip your staff and cross-train them. If someone on your team gets sick, you don’t want to their responsibilities to go undone during the holiday rush simply because no one else knows how to do their job.
5. Break out the decorations to boost morale.
Now for the fun part—it’s time to get into the holiday spirit! Get out your decorations and create some holiday cheer in your store.
Before you let out a wearied groan, you should understand the power of holiday decorations. Golden Corral found that when they decorated their restaurants for the holidays, their sales increased by 5%, and they sold 4% more meals! Even more interesting, they found that the locations that decorated with multicolored lights outperformed those that used only white lights.
If you have an online business, don’t think you’re exempt from this tip. You may not have a physical store to decorate, but you can still decorate your home office and snap a photo—or 10—for Instagram. Show your customers that you’re embracing the holiday cheer and you’ll see the same enthusiasm from them.
Bonus Tip: Prepare Your Business for the Holidays With Professional Financial Advice
Last but certainly not least, make sure your business is financially prepared for the holidays. If you’re not sure how to do that, you can hire us at Foray Business Group to advise you. As professional accountants, we’d be happy to set up an advisory call to coach you through how to set your business up for success during this season.
To get started, schedule a free consultation to discuss your business needs. We look forward to serving you!