The holiday season brings with it unique challenges and opportunities. Small businesses can thrive with planning and foresight during this special time of year. In this article, Adam Ferrari shares six creative ways entrepreneurs and small business owners can make the most of the season for themselves, their customers, and their employees.
Late November through December is packed with holidays. There are over 30 holidays in December alone. While not everyone gets excited about the German spice cookies celebrated on National Pfeffernüsse Day (December 23rd), Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa capture the attention of many. This season can represent a hectic time with up to 25% of annual sales for some small businesses, and for others, it is a time to slow down and enjoy non-work-related activities.
No matter what the holiday season means for your company, here are six tips to make it more enjoyable and profitable.
Tip #1 – Participate in giving
Many of this season’s holidays, especially Christmas, are focused on giving and serving others. Our neighborhoods and communities are more united as their citizens demonstrate increased love, charity, kindness, and compassion toward others. Entrepreneurs can explore fun and memorable ways to help their employees catch the spirit of the season.
Depending on the type of business you operate, a gift collection box for toys for underprivileged children, for example, can be an excellent way to make it convenient for employees to get involved. Matching charitable donations also show your support for the season. And, if at all possible, don’t forget the ever-popular employee bonus to keep spirits high.
Tip #2 – Create seasonal company traditions
Most people don’t readily think of work when they look forward to the holiday season, yet work must go on. Business owners benefit from creating memorable traditions that employees will anticipate with excitement.
Decorating your store or office for the season creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere for customers and employees. Don’t have a brick-and-mortar location? Decorate your website or social media presence with holiday-centered themes to let everyone know you’re on board with the collective celebration.
A holiday party that includes your employee’s plus-one can be an annual event that everyone looks forward to for months and for which they fondly reminisce long after.
Tip #3 – Run seasonal promotions
The tried-and-true seasonal promotion can be an effective tool to keep sales booming through the holiday season. But timing is everything.
Selling holiday-related goods and services too early (usually before Thanksgiving), for example, can turn many customers off. If there is a lead time or delivery delay for your product, making it available too late in the season is a bad idea too. It will vary for each company but think it through carefully to maximize your promotion’s results.
Be mindful of the growing resentment many consumers feel toward companies that appear to commercialize their favorite holiday blatantly. It can be a sensitive subject, so steer clear of this perception, especially religious holidays.
Tip #4 – Double down on community involvement
Nearly every small business can benefit from additional visibility in their community. The holiday season offers many opportunities to get involved.
There are parades, open-air markets, and many other events that desperately need volunteers and donations in many communities. Organizing your employees to volunteer their time helps them and the community. Perhaps a company-wide donation drive suits your workers.
Tip #5 – Creative financing
Small businesses compete with other companies for limited holiday shopping dollars in many ways. A family’s resources can only stretch so far.
Offering your customers creative financing options, such as zero down or no-interest alternatives, can reduce the family’s financial burden and help them make a favorable purchasing decision.
Tip #6 – Plan for inventory and staffing needs
Staffing needs, worker availability, and inventory needs can be significantly different during the holidays than at other times of the year. Plan carefully to ensure your business is prepared.
Asking your employees to submit their holiday season vacation requests early can help you identify periods when you need to consider temporary help.
Your sector’s market research and business trends can help you forecast proper inventory levels that won’t leave you without product or overtax your cash flow.
The holiday season can be challenging and exciting all at once. Plan ahead, give back, be generous, and serve others and you can create something you, your customers, and your workers will all look forward to each year.
About Adam Ferrari
Adam Ferrari was born and raised in the south suburbs of Chicago, IL. He is the grandson of an Italian immigrant coal miner who worked in the mines of Coal City, IL. From an early age, Adam was taught the value and dignity achieved through a hard day’s work. The oil and gas industry provides good-paying jobs for millions of blue-collar men and women across America. This is one of many reasons Adam and his company, Ferrari Energy, are such staunch supporters of the oil and gas industry. Blue-collar men and women built America, and the modern oil and gas industry keeps America moving forward.