Preparing for a holiday that will be far from normal is challenging enough for your family, not to mention the new considerations you will need to make for your business. As we enter what is traditionally the start of the holiday season, there are some decisions every business owner needs to make to ensure continuity and smooth operations progress toward the year end.
Making a plan will not only boost your profit potential it will go a long way to reducing stress during this already unusual holiday.
Here are some big considerations and activities to do to be ready for this less than ‘traditional holiday season’.
- Do What You Have Been Putting Off
- Update your digital footprint (social media channels, start a blog, update your website)
- Add an inventory management system
- Upgrade your POS system
If you expect closures, schedule physical plant upgrades including, remodels, repainting or rearranging desk or offices.
- Plan your Marketing and promotional schedule through the first of the year. Budget accordingly and make sure you have contingencies should conditions radically change.
- Hire and Train Seasonal personnel
- Set holiday schedules well ahead of time and ensure that you have clear Vacation policies in place.
- Consider ordering additional supplies or cutting back on none essentials as appropriate
- Considering automating processes
- Change your voicemail or email messages to reflect holiday operating hours
- Update your Google MY BUSINESS page, Yelp page and other review sites with details about your schedule and operating hours during the holidays
- Check your inventory levels of high-volume products and adjust based on new projections
- Don’t forget to boost morale. Be creative and inclusive.
- Consider offering incentives for holiday or extended working schedules
- Hold a Pot Luck
- Conduct a secret gift exchange
- Consider doing a charitable project your team can participate in
- Establish new traditions with your staff. Get them all involved.
The bottom-line is that to make this already difficult year a bit less stressful, having a solid plan to handle the last six weeks of the year will go a long way.
Don’t take your foot off of the gas because of restrictions or external constraints. Get creative and find ways to maximize the potential of the season. Add delivery services, add curbside elves to help patrons with their purchases, consider free or reduced shipping fees, extend promotions and always remember to delight your customers in any way possible.
Amp up your customer’ experiences even if they are online will help you gain loyal and repeat customers. Consider adding a CHAT BOT on your website to facilitate questions. Ensure phones are always manned so that customers can speak to a human whenever possible. Add notes of thanks with every order placed. It’ sometimes the smallest detail that will make a big difference.
Overall, make sure you take care of yourself if you hope to get your business through the holiday season. Eat right, drink a lot of water, get enough sleep and give yourself time to recover and reset. Mediate, exercise and remember to have fun.
Make this “odd time” the best time of year and remember to celebrate, rejoice and have gratitude. This positive mindset will help you get through the toughest of times.