Ways your small business can prepare for the holiday season

The holidays are a time of celebration, intense shopping, and preparation for a new fiscal year. Proactive, continual planning and management throughout this busy season can make the holidays less stressful, more enjoyable for you and your employees, and more lucrative for your company. Use these tips to make a big impact on your holiday success.

  1. Order supplies and balance stock on hand

You don’t want to be caught unprepared. The holiday season is the busiest time of year for many businesses, which can mean stock or supply shortages. Continually monitor your supplies to ensure you are comfortable handling the increase in traffic, while at the same time not purchasing more product that you will actually be used. You should balance stock on hand based on your estimates of buyer optimism. Track your sales velocity throughout the holiday season to enable you to balance stock into the new year.

If you need assistance to fund refill orders or product lines for 2019, a line of credit, purchase order financing, or inventory loans can help. These loans secure capital for your purchases and provide a reasonable interest rate so you can focus on keeping your business prepared through the busy season and into 2019.

  1. Prepare for holiday calendars

The holidays bring unique requirements for your calendar. There are specific days where traffic will increase and you will need to require all-hands-on-deck, but also days where workers will need time to celebrate. Prepare your calendars early to ensure proper staffing and to give employees a chance to celebrate as well.

Think about what routine tasks you might be able to get out of the way before the holidays. Accounting responsibilities, inventory audits, bookkeeping, or marketing can help relieve some of the additional stress that comes from the added requirements for the season. If you need immediate access to cash to hire additional holiday staff, then the short application period and rapid funding of hard money loans and A/R factoring might be good solutions.

  1. Make sure your website is ready.

The holidays will also mean an increase in traffic to your website. Make sure your site is up to date and ready for the traffic. You may need to increase your bandwidth and to review your site to assure it is mobile optimized.

Your website will be one of the main touchpoints between you and your customers during this season. It should look good and be up to date with all holiday promotions that you are running.  Make sure you’ve updated your phone number, physical address and email address on your website. You’re going to have customers trying to reach you over the holidays, so make sure your information is current and easy to find.

  1. Remember customer service

Your customers will be dealing with their own holiday stress. To make a great impression, make sure your interactions with them are of the highest caliber. Many customers will be interacting with you for the first time during the holiday season, and those are astounded by the quality of your customer service will return again and again throughout 2019.

In order to ensure that each interaction is pleasant, make sure that your critical systems such as your CRM, POS, and shipping solutions can handle the extra workload. Keeping your tools up to date is not only beneficial to you during the holiday season, but throughout the year as well. If you need to update your equipment or replace existing infrastructure, an equipment loan can help.

  1. Decorate

Adding a little festive cheer to your storefront or office can be a great way to celebrate the holiday season. There’s no need to turn your windows into the next Macy’s display, but putting up some lights and festive winter decorations can brighten people’s mood and keep your business feeling warm and welcoming.

The holidays can be a stressful time. Proactively planning for and consciously managing these extra demands can ensure that not only do your clients have a happy holiday but that you do as well.

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