Small Business Tips for the Holidays: A Checklist
By Eva Benoit, Guest Essayist
Small businesses typically thrive during the holidays, with special sales and discounts allowing customers to stick to their budgets while still getting everything on their gift lists. It takes a lot of preparation, however, to get ready for the busy season and ensure that your business will have everything it needs to draw in customers and keep them coming back for more. Not only that, but you’ll also want to ensure that you have the staff and supplies to get through several busy days in a row, especially if you’ll be partnering with a neighboring store to provide customer incentives to shop, and it won’t hurt to have a plan for after the season, either.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to prepare for the holidays and ensure that this season is a success. From decorating to streamlining your social media posts to mailing out holiday cards, there are many ways you can get your business ready for the end-of-the-year rush. Make a list of all the things you want to accomplish and set some goals to get organized, especially when it comes to scheduling and making sure your employees are prepared.
Keep reading for some tips on how to get your business ready for the holidays.
Don’t be Afraid to Decorate
Decorating for the holidays is a great way to garner new customers, as many people love to see the holiday spirit when they’re shopping. There are many easy and budget-friendly ways to decorate your store — both inside and out — that will get everyone in the mood to shop. Look for oversized Christmas ornaments and snowflakes that will draw attention from the road, or hang them from the ceiling in the store.
Mail Out Holiday Cards
For the price of postage, you can send out a mailer that will let customers know about any sales or special discounts you have going on for the holidays. Postcards are inexpensive, and you can customize them any way you want, and they’re a great way to engage new business. If your business is family-owned, consider taking a nice photo of your loved ones to include on the card.
Prep for the Rush
It’s important to figure out a schedule for the holidays and to ensure your employees are prepared. This means giving some extra training (especially for newer employees or seasonal help), letting everyone know what the store hours will be and which ones are mandatory, and working out a schedule that will fit everyone’s needs. This can be extremely tricky even when there aren’t holidays involved, so it’s important to get an early jump on this if you can.
Figure Out Your Community Involvement
How much you want to give back to the community — and when to do it — is an important decision to make, so sit down with your employees and any neighboring store owners to think about how you want to go about it. Some stores partner with one another for fun walk-through nights, where the stores allow the community to come in, look around at the freshly decorated shop, and enjoy some refreshments. Others donate a portion of their sales to a local charity. Think about how you want to proceed and make a plan that works for you.
Small businesses can benefit greatly from the holiday season; the key is to make sure you’re well prepared. Do some research and find out from neighboring stores how best to plan for the end of the year as far as sales figures go, especially if you’re a new business. With a good plan, you can ensure that this holiday season is a huge success.