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Is your small business ready for the holiday season?

Posted by Tasnim Ahmed

November 16, 2021    |     3-minute read (551 words)

As the U.S begins taking more steps toward normalcy and the COVID-19 pandemic seemingly winds down from crisis levels, many business owners are mulling how to get back on their feet. 

All businesses have been challenged by the pandemic, but small businesses and entrepreneurs have been battered hardest. Thousands of small firms have struggled to stay afloat or even gone out of businesses as their bigger counterparts flourished. 

Revved-up holiday spending offers a good opportunity for small businesses to help offset the lost revenues of the last 18 months. With the advance preparations described below, businesses can experience more robust profits during the holiday season that lies just around the corner. 

Create a plan with timeline

As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” The holiday festivities are no exception. Your plan will depend on the nature of your business, but it could address elements such as crowds, surging demand and the status of your inventory pipeline, for example. Part of the plan should include a timeline for implementation and execution. Also, be sure to make provisions for any eventuality you could face.

Market and advertise in advance

Prepare in advance to get the word out and showcase your business’s unique offerings You will need a solid marketing plan to be ready for the holiday period. Keep marketing efforts clear, concise and targeted and carefully decide what will work best in the allotted time. Remember that every marketing plan takes x amount of time to be seen and acted upon by consumers.

Be flexible with budget and liquidity

Most business owners try to follow an annual budget. While that practice will serve you well with macro business decisions, you’ll also need room to address changing seasonal and market demands. It’s best to commit to a broad, flexible budget where you can finalize decisions based on evolving market conditions. Likewise, that flexibility should extend to liquidity. Certain periods such as the holiday season require good liquidity, because many vendors and businesses work on a cash model. 

Stock up

Never go low on inventory ahead of peak season. Forecast and plan accordingly. Maintain uniform delivery periods, and keep tabs on supply and demand, along with customer requirements.

Make your social media, website and touch points seamless

At times of peak demand, it is important that all your touch points, such as your website, social media accounts and e-commerce options, are seamless and hassle-free. Backlogs and bottlenecks render a poor customer experience that could lead to unnecessarily low volumes or sales in the busy season.

Enlist help

If needed, arrange for an extra pair of hands to lighten your workload so you can stay ahead of orders and consignments. This too may require advance planning, but the potential payoff makes the effort worthwhile

Be ready for a post-holiday rush

When getting your business ready for seasonal festivities, include the days that fall immediately after the peak rush as they also may see heightened action. Prepare accordingly in terms of arranging extra help, optimizing your website, and making arrangements for potential returns or exchanges, for example.

Takeaway: This holiday season, success for small businesses hinges on the ability to quickly adapt to prevailing market conditions and execute on a well-conceived plan devised in advance.

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