The holiday season is upon us, but getting your company in order for the different work hours, employee vacations and other irregular happenings takes away from “the most wonderful time of the year.” We’ve put together a simple checklist to help you get your small business ready for the holidays.
The Basic Holiday Checklist for Small Businesses
1. Craft your Marketing Plan
Making a marketing plan for the holiday season can be a fun, creative task for yourself or your marketing team. There are many different aspects of a holiday marketing plan to think of that can attract your customers to your business. Many of these marketing strategies will depend on what type of business you own and what product or service you sell, but it’s important to remember to slightly tailor your marketing during the holidays, at least in one way or another. If you’re a startup just learning about marketing, check out some basic tips before you get started on your holiday strategy.
It’s easy to see why your customer would maybe delete your email, we’re all guilty of it. Everyone gets emails daily from random stores or newsletters they’ve signed up for and most of the time they end up in our trash. Make your email stand out this holiday season by thinking about what you would take the time to open and read. Try to keep a holiday email less sales-y sounding, and maybe more fun for your industry.
Would your product or service be a great gift for someone? Do you offer gift cards? Is your industry responsible for a weird holiday tradition? Think of something unique to you, craft an interesting subject line and include and awesome image to step up your email marketing this holiday season.
Use your social media channels for holiday posts and see if you can get some extra likes and shares that you typically wouldn’t in other months. You can create an infographic or a blog post you’ve written that is on topic with the holidays and post it to your social media pages that link to your website to increase traffic. Another idea would be to have some sort of contest on social media that calls your audience to share a post, submit a photo, etc. and offer the winner a prize or gift basket.
If you’re a B2B business and social media isn’t your type of marketing tactic, learn how you can implement some social media best practices so you’ll be ready for next year’s holiday season.
Reach out to prospects during the holiday season with advertising in a way that differs from your typical strategy. If you’re selling a product or are a retail company, this is especially important for sales during the holidays. Advertising can often scare some small businesses because it’s thought of as being a high cost marketing strategy, but you can advertise inexpensively or creatively to save money, while still reaching new customers.
2. Organize a Holiday Celebration
This isn’t going to improve your sales directly, but possibly indirectly. If you throw a holiday party for your employees or even have a potluck lunch to let people relax, instead of work, with each other, it could lead to your employees working harder. Putting in more of a work effort could in turn lead to higher sales. Cha-ching! It’s a win-win for you and your employees. Rewarding them for their work throughout the year is important for a positive work environment.
3. Decorate your Space
This goes with number two. Decorating your office or retail space for the holiday season isn’t necessarily going to help your business succeed in the long run, but it will make it a much more pleasant place to be. If your business is retail or has customers coming and going, it will make the experience a lot more enjoyable for them. In addition to pleasing customers, it helps improve your employees attitudes.
Adjust your music, lighting, decorations and even air fresheners/candles to reflect the holiday season and watch your customers and employees love your office or retail space.
4. Set Schedules
The holidays come with different schedules. From employees taking vacations, to businesses closing early and not opening on certain holidays, it’s hard to keep up with it all. At the start of the season, you should have a list of all the hour changes that will be made. Double check with your employees to see what days they’re switching shifts, taking vacation days, etc. and adjust accordingly. Once you’ve determined which days your business will be closed, share it with your employees so everyone is on the same page.
If you are in the retail industry or have a brick and mortar store, make sure your holiday hours are posted on your website, social media pages and even your front door so your customers won’t be disappointed when they show up to buy your products and you’re closed.
5. Increase your Cash Flow
To keep up with payroll and other expenses during the influxes of the holiday season, factor your invoices to receive cash advances. You want to be able to keep up with the demand during the holidays, so see if accounts receivable factoring is right for you and your business.