During the holiday period, it seems you can’t win – either it’s way too busy and you’re struggling to keep up, or it’s the opposite: projects stop coming in as your clients decide to put everything on hold until February while they soak up the rays and enjoy an extended holiday.
Despite this, the news for the small to medium sector is good, with a predicted growth of $215 million this December. Whichever extreme you’re experiencing, here some tips for getting through the festive season unscathed.
The ‘too hot to handle’ festive business
For a retail business over Christmas, planning is the key. If you can not only survive the holiday season but also benefit from it, you can start the new year on a profitable high note.
Know your sales cycles – look back at your sales data for the previous year and do an inventory according to customer demand. If you’ve kept good records, you’ll order just the right amount of stock to see you through the season.
Plan your fulfilment process early – it’s important to get your goods into the hands of customers as quickly as possible at Christmas, to the point where it could make or break your business. For example, if you have an online sales business, implementing a click-to-collect option could be beneficial, giving customers the opportunity to collect their orders the same day.
Extra resources – do you have enough staff to cater for the extra demand? Now is the time to look into additional resources to keep your business ticking over smoothly.
Website stress test – if you’re an e-commerce business, can your website handle the surge in demand? It might be worth stress-testing your site before the busy season. There is nothing worse than a ‘404 error’ message as a Christmas present.
Collect data – if this is the time of year when you have the most customers, it’s the ideal time to collect valuable customer data (as long as they have opted in) so you can keep in touch with them. After all, a customer is for life, not just for Christmas.
The ‘slow-roast turkey’ festive business
If your business is part of the service industry, Christmas can be a slow time for profit. Projects that were ‘in the pipeline’ get put off until the new year while the corporate world takes full advantage of the holiday season. So what can you do in the slow period?
Plan ahead – ask your clients in advance if there are some projects you can take off their hands over the holiday months. There might be something you can accomplish while they’re on a ‘go slow’.
Keep in touch through content marketing – even if your clients might not be working as hard, they will still be checking emails and social media. Now is a good time to ramp up your content marketing, so you stay top of mind in the new year.
A good time to upskill – a slow business period is an excellent time to learn a new skill or get up to date with the latest innovations in your industry. Do you know how to edit a marketing video? Now might be a good time to learn.
Use the downtime to plan for the peaks – if you know when the busy periods are, use the slow times to plan. Accounting, marketing, sales pipelines – get them streamlined and efficient so you can maximise the good times.
Plan for next year – do some deep thinking about the direction of your business; where are you going to find new clients? Are you happy with how your business is going? Make some plans while you have the time.
Work on your website and social media channels – your website and social media channels always need updating, managing and planning. Make sure your latest projects are on your site and schedule as many social media posts as possible. It will save time and profits in the long run.
Whichever extreme Christmas brings for you, follow these tips and you’ll be able to crack open a bottle of something special to celebrate a job well done.