For entrepreneurs, the holidays can be stressful for all the right reasons and for some, all the wrong reasons! Either way there are a few things to try and keep fresh in your mind!
For some people, this time of year brings enormous sales volumes, shipping, receiving conundrums and hiring of seasonal staff, increases in theft. Yet for others, depending on the industry they are in, it is a time of massive decrease in sales volumes, manufacturing/plant closures for holidays or simply, they offer services that people are just not buying this time of year. A good example of that would be Lawn & Landscaping, Exterior House Painting, manufacturing plants overseas or Plastic Surgeons! ( I am assuming people who partake in plastic surgery will not be looking to have black eyes and puffy faces over the holidays, at least not from self inflicted procedures!)
So here are a few tips for ALL of you, regardless of what side of the fence you fall on!
1. Pay attention to your business during this time.
Create detailed reports for both positive and negative effects this season has on your business. Every bit is a potential learning! Look at your numbers from previous 1-2 years, are you on top of trends and patterns? Are you trying to offer extra services? If you are an "off season" business, perhaps you can offer an extra service this time of year like Gift Certificate bundles as gifts or even tie in with another business and offer packages together.
2. Do not let details slip!
As busy brick and mortar businesses gear up, they often fall down on absolute store basics like keeping cardboard and garbage out of sight. Be sure to receive product before or after regular stores to keep clutter and mess (and liability) to a minimum. Hire the extra staff or schedule earlier starts and overlaps to ensure it's done. Keep your floors, aisles and entrances squeaky clean!
3. Traffic speaks volumes!
If you have 5-10 times the traffic coming through your business, what are you doing to capture that beyond only targeting a sale? Get them on your email list, client database and mail out list! Have an entry ballot with gift raffle with email request, or staff with an iPad at the exit of the store offering a coupon handout for every email newsletter sign up! Use great tools like infusionsoft or mail chimp for iPad and get those customers INTO your database! Need a 1 one hours session on how to use some of these tools? Email me!
4. Downtime turning up?
If your business is quiet this time of year, take advantage of the lull to work out your marketing and social media for the year. Sit down with an expert if needed and plot out your goals and make a strategy on how to implement those goals using your social media platforms, marketing and PR efforts. Using the tools on the internet, you can set up pre-posts for the first quarter ahead of time, freeing up tons of time when you start to gear up again in Q1!
5. And the survey says….
If now is a quiet time, focus on pulling all your customer service and feedback learnings now. By contacting your current clients with surveys now, you will be way ahead of the game in terms of pulling feedback, learnings and ultimately strategizing and prepping before your busy time comes in the New Year. Any changes that need to be made can planned and executed well in advance if you start now.
6. Streamline Social Media
If you are slammed this time of year, make sure to utilize the tools on the internet and your iPhone to pre-plan your and streamline whatever you can. Social Media is an obvious one. If you have planned your SM strategy, you should have already done most of your pre-planned posts for Facebook, Twitter etc. If you haven't, get in there now and do it! If you need to, hire somebody to do it or you!
WordPress has a built in feature that lets you to prep your posts, preview them and then schedule them for a later date. The same can be done with Hootsuite (and also TweetAdder for Twitter). You can also sync your blog RSS feed to Hootsuite to be automatically tweeted. Engage your key (senior) staff to help animate the day to day "live" component where needed but setting up your posts ahead of time will save you a TON of time!
7. Book in YOU time!
Yes the hustle and bustle can drown the best of us, please remember to book in down time for you, yourself, family and friends. Let's not forget that we are #entrepreneurs partly because it is in our blood but also to support ourselves, with a hope to gain a better quality of life. Don't lose your quality of life in the chaos of Christmas! Family and friends first!
*Book your consult today, let's see how we can streamline, strategize and IMPROVE your business!
Leah Chevallier, serial entrepreneur in the Juvenile Industry sharing insight, success and 18 years of award winning retail experience! Took $2000 Micro-credit loan and turned it into $30 million!