When the leaves start to turn and the weather gets a little cooler, you know autumn is around the corner! It also serves as a good reminder to take time to prepare your business for the upcoming holiday season. The time between Halloween and New Year’s is one of the busiest times for many businesses, and you need to start your holiday planning sooner than later.
Here are some things to consider for the upcoming holiday season:
Decide what sales or promotions you will be offering
People love to spend money between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so be sure to think about how you can tap into this free-flowing spending time. Many brick-and-mortar businesses focus on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) for sales, but don’t forget other two “sales” holidays: Small Business Saturday and CyberMonday. Small Business Saturday falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and encourages people to shop at locally owned businesses. CyberMonday is similar to Black Friday but focuses only on Internet sales. You may have a better turnout and more sales if you leverage these other shopping holidays instead of trying to compete with the Big Box Stores on Black Friday.
Decide when you will be taking time off
Hard-working entrepreneurs need time off, too! Put your vacation time on your calendar now, and then plan on how you’ll let your customers know that you’ll be away to celebrate the holidays. Consider sending a letter or e-newsletter to let people know about your time off. If you have an office or brick-and-mortar business, consider adding signs to the windows or in the lobby.
Make sure you also write a plan on how you’ll get your tasks completed before your vacation time so you don’t have to think about work while you are away. Completely unplugging from your business is one of the best ways to rejuvenate, not to mention the happiness your family will feel having your undivided attention.
Order your holiday gifts and cards
If you plan on mailing holiday cards or purchasing gifts, now is the time to get your orders ready. Consider a different strategy this year, and send your cards and gifts for Thanksgiving or New Year’s. This will make your gift unique and memorable, and help you stand out from the plethora of Christmastime gifts that other businesses will send.
If time permits, be sure to sign your holiday cards personally. If you start early enough, you can do a few cards a day, which will allow you enough time to get everything signed, sealed and delivered.
Think about your holiday donations
Many businesses take this time of year to give back to their community. If you have a team, brainstorm a project you can do around the holidays, such as caroling at a nursing home or visiting a local animal shelter. Host a holiday party and ask participants to bring canned goods for a food drive. Or, think about a monetary donation to your favorite charity. Giving back is part of the holiday season, so take some time to find a cause that resonates with you and your business.
The holiday season is a hectic time of year, especially for many entrepreneurs. Take time now to plan your vacation time, sales and promotions, gift giving and charitable acts so you don’t feel so rushed around the holidays. Use a marketing plan and calendar to help you sort out your tactics and time frames. With proper planning, you can enjoy this special time of year with your clients and family.
Photo courtesy of Tim Sackton
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