Did you realize that there are only a handful of Fridays left until Christmas? Walk into a any big box store and you will see aisles and aisles of holiday decor and gift suggestions. The big stores are getting ready for the most intense buying season of the year — are you?
For businesses big and small, autumn marks the beginning of the most intense sales months of the year. You will soon, if you aren’t already, be experiencing your biggest influx in business. You will find yourself feeling frantic and as if you can’t get it all done. The good news is that if you are prepared, the holiday rush won’t seem like a rush at all, but business as usual with a few long days thrown in.
Fall and winter is a fruitful time of year, and your business should be reaping the benefits. You don’t have to be a major retailer to see your profits soar during this time of year and end 2017 on the best note possible. Even if you are feeling a bit unmotivated and overwhelmed, you can do it. We believe in you. Now you just have to believe in yourself. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for and make it through the holiday craziness.
- Market for the Holidays
If you have some type of business that can be made or broken during the holiday season, you better be planning your marketing strategy now and ready to implement it in the coming weeks. Plan on spending a few long days and maybe even a sleepless night here and there.
If you sell a product to customers, determine how you will market it. It’s important to know that consumers are already planning for the holidays. People are making lists and they are deciding what they will be buying and who from. If you don’t come up with a good marketing strategy, those people may just end up visiting your competition.
- Sign Up for Trade Shows
Few events are as beneficial for small businesses as trade shows. When you have a table or booth at one of these conventions, you are able to reach a high number of customers all gathered in one place. Most of the people attending these events are looking for a solution to a problem.
You may never have a time when people are more willing to listen to your ideas and allow you to specifically detail how your product or service can benefit them. Exhibiting at a trade show affords you the opportunity to reach hundreds of people in a single day, many of whom will purchase your product if you can convince them they need it.
- Come Up with a Contact Strategy
Don’t think of your summer customers as having come and gone. It’s true that no one wants to be bothered constantly, but reaching out once a month or so can ensure that you are foremost in the minds of your customers. This is especially important as we enter the most intense sales months of the year. If you have something your customer needs and they hear from you on occasion, they are more likely to make their purchase from you than from your competition.
Consider how you will contact your summer customers during the holiday season. Will you send an email? Make follow-up phone calls? Send out mailers? Make sure you are thanking your customers for their business and inviting them back. An exclusive coupon or sale is always an enticing reason to come back to your business.
- Communicate with Suppliers
Think of how busy you are right now. Think about how busy your competition is. Now think about how busy your suppliers must be. Now is not the time to lose contact with the people who are selling you the things you need to make your business a success. Keep an eye on your inventory and plan on ordering a bit sooner than you would during the rest of the year.
Also be sure that you are paying your bills when they are due. A supplier may have given you a bit of leeway during the summer months, but they may drop you like a hot potato when they get overwhelmingly busy and have to decide who to service and who to let slip away.
- Plan for Next Year
Maybe fall and winter aren’t your busy seasons. Perhaps they are your slowest times of year. Don’t worry about your declining revenue if it was expected. If this time of year is your down time, use it to plan for next year. Think about the ways that you can grow your business in the coming year and turn an even bigger profit.
If you have staff, take them out for a day of relaxation, even if it’s just to the local park, and start talking about plans for next year. Discuss what worked this year and what didn’t, and adjust accordingly.
- Move Forward
Studies have shown that making even one positive, forward move can motivate you to make more. Call an old customer or a new one. Make a lunch date with a new rep. Look at and fix that one thing that has been bothering you for a while now.
When you fix one thing, you are bound to keep the momentum going and fix even more. Sure, you’d still like to be enjoying this little bit of downtime before the holiday rush, but now is the time to make sure that your business is ready for the coming months.
If you aren’t ready to be busy, what are you waiting for? Don’t get to the point that you are so overwhelmed that you feel as though you are stuck in place. By taking even small steps now, you will be better prepared for the busiest season yet.
Prepare Better By Taking Tasks Off Your Plate
If you are feeling too overwhelmed to think about next week, let alone the most intense sales months of the year, we can help. We offer a variety of different services, from accounting and billing to payment processing, so you can be ready to take on whatever this holiday season throws at your small business. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business thrive, or to start a free trial of our premium software package.