The holiday season is coming up fast and if your business is affected by seasonal sales, planning should be in progress. If not, here are some key areas to consider. First inventories should be readily available for customers. This requires researching last year’s sales and shipments to project what will be in demand this year. Examining current trends can determine how your product lines compare. Running out of product too soon in the season can be harmful in numerous ways. Once determined there will be enough to sell, it’s important that staffing plans are adequate.
Once again, looking back at previous years can be helpful. Will seasonal help be required? If so, how will you go about recruiting the skilled labor needed. Thirdly, is your IT ready for the holiday season? During this busy season, system downtime can provide stress as well as loss of business. Make sure latest firmware and software have been downloaded on point of sale devices, computers and even printers. Also confirm that systems have the needed compute and storage capacity to handle increased transactions.
If you have service contracts make sure they are up-to-date and know who and how to contact. Next, how is this year’s marketing plan coming along? Where, when and how will you advertise? Was last year’s strategy effective? Do you have a social media presence?
It’s been said that good practice for a small business is to spend one day a week working on marketing efforts. This may not be practical for everyone but it should highlight the importance to ensure a plan is in place.
As the business world changes, the entrepreneur should also be thinking outside the box. Don’t be afraid to go for help whether through online blogs, consultants or reading material. How about price reduction plans.
While much of this may be a “what-if” scenario, having something in place will prevent you from making last minute and impulsive decisions. We all hope sales will be strong and steady through the season but that isn’t reality. Finally, consider your post-holiday plans. What type of sales will you have? Again, some of this is difficult to pin point, but it will be helpful to have a starting point. Good luck and may it be a prosperous selling season.