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  • Writer's pictureAlpha Moose

Get Holiday Ready in 4 Steps

While it feels like we just said goodbye to warm summer evenings and hello to chilly fall mornings, most small business owners are already thinking about the holidays. Whether solely online or in-person, the holiday season (November - January) is the most profitable time of year for many small businesses, and it’s a great time to meet new customers who will become loyal fans all year long.

But if you’re still holding on to your iced coffee and refusing to put your shorts away, don’t panic! Here are 4 easy tips to get your small business holiday-ready in no time.

1. Create a Holiday Marketing Plan

The tinkle of jingle bells may seem months away, but they’ll become the sound of your nightmares if you don’t get a holiday marketing plan together ASAP!

Pull your data from last year and do some review. What did customers like? What wasn’t as big of a hit as you thought? Are there any current trends in your business that you think will continue into the new year? Did Instagram send the most customers your way, or is a traditional email campaign more your style?

Once you’ve gone through your data, start planning out your campaign. Write out your promotions, your social media posts, and any other marketing you plan to do. Remember that if you plan on any direct mail, radio, or newspaper campaigns, countless other small businesses will be doing the same. Reserve your spots with these outlets early (in other words, now) so that they don’t run out of space and you don’t end up wrecking your finances with last minute ad charges.

2. Get Ahead of the Rush

Every business owner has those things that they have been putting off for a rainy day. Unfortunately, those rainy days tend to hit during the holiday season, right when you are at your busiest. Whether it’s updating your website, hiring a marketing team, completing any required training, or streamlining your inventory process, do it now. It may feel tedious, but having your business running smoothly and efficiently long before the holiday rush will improve both your sanity and your bank account.

3. Fill your Stockings

No, we don’t mean the ones on the mantle! Make sure you have all of the inventory you need for increased holiday sales. Vendors are going to be facing their own holiday rush, so the sooner you get your order in the better. You don’t want to lose business or customers because you are out of stock. Vendors will often have ordering deadlines, so make sure you keep track and manage your flow.

Offer services, not products? Then replace “inventory” with “time”! Make sure your time-wasters are out of the way and you’ve cleared your calendar to offer the services you need to make the holiday season bright. Prepare your workflow with everything you need to quickly serve your clients with quality this season.

Don’t forget about shipping! Whether sending your products or branded items, make sure you’ve bought all the supplies you need and stocked up on the items you’re planning to send.

4. Plan for Happy Employees

If you manage a team, you know that this hectic season affects them as well. Get input from staff about what they want. If a holiday party mid-December feels like another stressful obligation, would they prefer to do it in January? Is a holiday exchange going to be a financial burden? Be sensitive to the traditions and cultures of your staff, and make sure if and how you celebrate supports your entire crew.

This is a popular time of year for folks to travel, so make sure your time-off policies are clearly communicated to employees. Whether you give time off by seniority, first-come-first-served, or lottery system, try your best to make it fair. If possible, offer incentives for employees that volunteer to come in on holidays or the days after. If seasonal employees are a good fit for your business, start hiring them now. While you might pay a little more in wages, having them hired before the holiday rush means they’ll be trained and ready to go in time to make a positive difference. This will not only keep your business running smoothly, but will ease the burden on your existing employees and provide more time for them to rest and recharge before the new year.

Another great way to help employees get in the holiday spirit is to give back to your community. Let your staff choose a charity or project they feel passionate about and work together to support it. This could look like matching employee donations, giving staff a paid day off to volunteer, or doing a giving tree, food drive, or similar collection.

These are just 4 simple things you can do to straighten yourself out before the holidays! Seems like too much? Alpha Moose is happy to help with your holiday strategy, including social media campaigns, marketing emails, and content creation. Contact us today to find out how we can help make your holiday season a success, without all the stress!

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