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6 Tips to Help You Gear Up for the Busy Holiday Season
  • 08 November 2017
  • Eric Michaels

6 Tips to Help You Gear Up for the Busy Holiday Season

For many small businesses, sales performance during the busy holiday season is crucial to your overall success for the year. With the holidays right around the corner, make sure you have your holiday retail plan of action in place. These six tips are helpful as you prepare your small business for ultimate success during this busy time of year.

1. Make your final staffing decisions in advance

Make sure you have your all-star team in place and that they’re prepared and ready to perform at their peak. Start planning as early as possible. Will you offer overtime for your associates or will you hire additional temporary workers? Do you have employees who aren’t performing well? Many seasonal workers have already begun looking for those holiday positions. Whether you’re planning to hire temporary staff or let poor performers go, the time to act is now, before the holidays.

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2. Identify your winning tickets

Before the holiday rush, look at your sales and inventory reports, paying attention to your most popular products. Look at what your top sellers for the year have been, as well as what last year’s holiday sales trends looked like for your business. Be sure to have plenty of stock for those items that have been flying off the shelves.

Pay attention to buyers’ trends and behaviors as well as how recent events might impact what people are buying this holiday season.

If you have products that are sitting more than selling, consider bundling them with another product or marking down to make room for more popular items.

3. Develop your Small Business Saturday® plan

If the holidays are a business owner's equivalent of the national title game, then Small Business Saturday is the first game of the playoffs. Make sure that your small business is prepared for the Shop Small movement on Saturday, November 25. Start by visiting the American Express Shop Small website to explore different ways to get your business involved within your local community this year.

4. Finalize your packing and shipping processes

Every year, business owners hear about holiday shipping delays and worry whether their packages will arrive on time. If there is a delay, you’ll have to face the wrath of customers who did not have a gift for their friends and family members—and the backlash could be brutal. To avoid these issues, make sure you have a detailed shipping plan in place. How often and at what time of the day will you send out your items? If you’re short on time, you may want to consider outsourcing your shipping and packing services to a third-party expert.

5. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

During the busiest time of year, you have to be on top of your game in every way. As a good practice, make sure you stick to a standard sleep schedule and exercise regularly during the weeks leading up to the holidays so you can perform at the highest level possible. Along with this physical preparation, try leveraging different tactics like yoga or meditation to relax your mind and relieve stress.

6. Keep track of your inventory

With products flying out the door, you need to be aware of your current stock at all times. Keep customers informed about low inventory and any items that are on backorder so that they can plan accordingly. There are few things worse than having to inform a customer later that their delivery will be unexpectedly delayed due to a lack of inventory. Shoppers need to know that they are buying with confidence.

Conquering the busy holiday season is all about preparation. Make sure you have a clear plan well ahead of time so that you can execute effectively. Doing so will help you to finish the season strong.

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