It may be a bit early at this time to think about holiday season but for businesses, the countdown to the start of the season has already begun. It is safe to assume that large retailers have already planned ahead and locked in most of their season plans. However, small business owners and managers need to get in on the act as they cannot afford to wait any longer. For a business to succeed during this season, there are three things that are equally important to accomplish this: Staff, Inventory and customers.
Let us take a look at how these aspects are important to your business;
1. Manage staff
The holiday season often requires more staff than your usual season. It is very likely that your store may be open for a few more hours which may require extra help so it is better to plan ahead instead of waiting till the very last minute. You may even have to sit down your staff and set realistic expectations. Managers often work longer shifts during this time and without any time off, they may not be able to top-notch service. Many employees are happy to work an extra shift or work longer hours of they are paid accordingly whereas some of them may have other plans such as trips or family obligations that prevent them from coming. When you have had the conversation with them, then you know what you have to work with. You may most probably have to bring in new temporary or permanent employees on board. Your current staff members can also recommend some people in this time.
2. Set Your Inventory
Before the start of the season, many businesses have meeting with key vendors and in some cases, you may have orders that were placed some time ago. This is why it is important to evaluate what you have ordered, your current stock and what you are going to need during the full span of the season. In this time, you may even feature different items in different quantities. For example, many stores add holiday themed limited time products to their stores or put some products on sale in bulk quantity for discounted prices. This is where customer relationships come in handy, as many businesses try to interact with their customers about their business plans and try to get a forecast on what they will need during the season. You can talk about your current stock with suppliers as well and put the word out for emergency resupply if your season goes better than expected.
3. Bring in the Customers
The holiday season brings about an abundant variety of shoppers. You want to ensure that your business caters to most if not all of your customers who can be returning customers or just one-time visitors. Your marketing plan and campaigns should be designed to get the word out and may include flyers, social media, SMS marketing and even your website. Many businesses assume that during the holiday season customers will just come in because of the season but not necessarily.
If you have not yet started planning, you better get to ASAP. The first thing to check is your inventory to keep a check of your stock. As it gets closer to the season, things will become more difficult like bringing in inventory, lining up staff or executing a marketing plan. So, you might as well get to work now and prepare ahead of time.