The holidays are a busy time for most small-business owners, and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. Plan ahead to ensure you can handle the seasonal rush (or slowdown) and perhaps enjoy some time off, too.
Depending on your industry, here are six things you can do now to get ready for the holidays:
- Order holiday cards and promotional materials now. Custom print shops can become overloaded during the holidays, which means your marketing materials may not arrive on time if you wait too long. Ordering in advance skirts this issue. It also allows you to resolve any problems and still get everything in the mail on schedule.
- Check your inventory and plan for increased sales. If you run a retail business, review last year’s seasonal sales records. What items were most popular? What sold out? Do you plan to run any special promotions or deals this year? If so, take that into account. Once you have a solid estimate of the inventory you’ll need, get it stocked, so you’ll have enough on hand for the holidays.
- Set your employees’ schedules. Talk to your employees now, so that they can plan their holiday schedules and you can be confident you have sufficient staff to cover your busiest days.
- Arrange to sell gift cards. Store gift cards (or certificates) are the most-requested holiday present, and you should make yours available for sale as soon as possible. Nearly four out of 10 consumers start shopping for the holidays [PDF] before Halloween.
- Write your email newsletter(s). Before you get too busy, craft your customer communiques. Include details of holiday promotions, extended hours, and seasonal offers. Have the newsletter(s) ready to send in advance, so you don’t have to stress about them later.
- Talk with clients to gauge your workload. You may want to take some time off over the holidays. Discuss your schedule with clients in advance, so that you aren’t faced with any surprise, last-minute deadlines. If you plan to work through the holidays, get any necessary information you need from clients, so that you can complete projects while they’re on vacation.