With less than a month out from the “busiest day” for many entrepreneurs and small business owners, preparations are in full swing for the holiday selling season.
According to the National Retail Federation, sales for November and December are expected to increase a healthy 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion, higher than 2013’s actual 3.1 percent increase during that same time frame.
Are your holiday plans in place to maximize these sales peaks? Alongside Small Business Trends’ Anita Campbell, we helped small business owners gear up for the season during our recent holiday prep tweet chat.
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In case you missed the chat, Anita shared her best last-minute tips to prepare for a successful season. Whether you’re already planning, or have yet to start, this hour-long chat offered small business owners everywhere useful tips to rev up their holiday planning.
We’ve recapped the top tips from the chat and hope you will benefit from the ideas for your own holiday planning this season:
- Final Checklist – What items should be on your final checklist to prep for the holidays? For all businesses, create your marketing plan, Gantt chart (a type of bar chart that illustrates a project schedule) or calendar to-dos and staff work schedules. For retail business, figure out your inventory and packaging supply needs, everything from banners, signs to decorations.
- Stay in Contact – When the holiday ends, a good way to stay in contact with any new customers you gained during the season is to offer a “use later” coupon, for 2015. Another idea, ask customers to sign up for your email list right at the cash register to get special promotions.
- Stay Staffed – Need more hands on deck for the season? Go to social media! Tell Twitter and Facebook fans your needs for holiday staff. Also, leverage your own team by offering existing employees a referral bonus.
- De-Stress – With the busy season in full swing, re-prioritize your non-essentials. Allow time to enjoy! Eliminate “nice to-dos” if it’s not critical and it means less stress.
- Stay Engaged – Keep your customers plugged into sales and other marketing activities. Host a Holiday Open House. Send out mailers or newsletters to promote the event prior. Cross promote with local events such as holiday craft shows and include a coupon in “goodie bags.”
What are your best tips for fellow small business owners? Share yours in the comments thread below or by using hashtag #SMBHolidayPrep on Twitter!