While the COVID-19 pandemic continues in the U.S., consider these tips with safety in mind: using curbside pick up or delivery, promoting online orders, masks for employees and customers, and social distancing measures and capacity limits for storefronts. Always consult with your local authorities for COVID safety and business resources.
If your business’ busy season hits during the holidays, then you already know it’s never too early to start thinking about the holidays. The more you can get done ahead of time, the better prepared you’ll be to make this your most successful holiday season yet. Here are the four top things to do to prepare your business for the holiday season:
Manage your finances during the holiday rush
When the till is flush with cash it can be really tempting to deviate from the monthly budget you established at the first of the year. If your annual revenues rely on your holiday sales, it’s important to keep within your budget and make sure you don’t spend more than what you’ve allocated for the season.
It’s also easy to let your daily business “chores” slide when you’re wrapped up in the holiday rush. While it’s important to keep the shelves stocked and take care of customers, don’t neglect your daily bookkeeping and other management duties. Make sure you set aside an hour or two at the beginning of every day to keep on top of your finances.
If you need extra employees for the holidays, now is the time to start looking
With Labor Day behind us, many retailers are ramping up for their holiday season by looking at their staffing needs. It’s not uncommon for a small business to need seasonal help to keep the shelves stocked, make deliveries, take care of customers, and otherwise keep your business’ operations running smoothly. You’ve probably budgeted for the extra payroll expenses when you did your planning for the year back in January, but it’s important to make sure you keep an eye on the budget so your payroll doesn’t eat into your expected profits. Check out “Hiring Seasonal Help for the Holidays: What You Need to Know” for some tips.
Holiday Inventory Prep
If you’re like most businesses that rely on the holiday season, you’ve probably already got a good share of your inventory in place. Nevertheless, without a crystal ball it can be hard to gauge in advance what products will be this season’s big sellers. Make sure you you watch your inventory closely to see what products are getting a lot of attention. You may also need to make sure you have access to additional inventory should your inventory on a quick moving item start to run low.
On the flip side, if you find some inventory isn’t selling as well as expected, consider implementing some of these holiday sales strategies.
Financing is available if you need it
It’s not uncommon during the end-of-the-year rush to need some extra capital to purchase additional inventory, hire an additional employee or two, run a holiday sales promotion, or meet some other important business need. Fortunately, online lenders like OnDeck offer short-term financing with three- to six-month terms that can help you access extra capital to keep the holidays running smoothly—and profitably. In many cases you can get an answer to your loan application the same day and have funds in your account to meet your capital needs within another day or two so you can capture some additional profits during the holidays.
If you aren’t already doing it every month, it’s a good time to make sure you compare current holiday season results to last year’s results. It will not only help you determine whether or not your business is on track to end the year strong, it will help you when it comes time to prepare your business for the holiday season next year.
How is your small business preparing for the holiday season?