;As the holidays approach, retailers begin prepping for the anticipated boost in business that the months of November and December typically bring. While an increase in sales is most welcome, dealing with a steady barrage of customers can leave you feeling frazzled at the end of the day.
Having a plan for staying organized is essential to keep your small business (and your sanity) from coming apart at the seams. Here are some things you can do in front of and behind the scenes to maintain order in the midst of the holiday rush.
1. Mark your calendar
A well-planned schedule can be your best friend during the holidays. Let these tips help you avoid being overwhelmed by your to-do list:
- Pencil in Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday first so you can begin planning your promotions for these events early.
- Jot down when you’ll be running sales or hosting special in-store events
- Take note of inventory delivery dates so you know when new stock will arrive.
- Coordinate with your employees to plan out your seasonal schedule.
- Mark off any days you’ll be closed, as well as days when you plan to close early or extend your hours.
- Use a scheduling app like Evernote to keep track of key dates on the go.
Planning ahead means you can worry less about unexpected surprises and it’s easier to make changes if necessary.
2. Create a housekeeping schedule
At the end of a long shopping day, your store could easily be confused for a war zone. Using a simple maintenance list can keep the chaos to a minimum.
- Assign your employees to specific zones in the store for which they are responsible.
- Schedule regular sweeps throughout the day for tidying up displays and restocking merchandise when needed.
- Delegate opening and closing clean-up tasks, such as sweeping, cleaning windows, taking out trash and vacuuming.
- Create a filing system for unpaid invoices if you don’t have one.
- Choose one day a week to review and pay any outstanding invoices.
- Schedule one day a week to review sales and order inventory.
Assigning essential tasks to a specific day of the week ensures that you’re getting the most important things done without feeling overwhelmed.
3. Streamline your marketing
Managing a holiday marketing campaign can leave you feeling frenzied, but using tech-based solutions can relieve some of the pressure.
- Use an app like Hootsuite to manage your various social media accounts, such as Twitter and Facebook.
- Compose messages for future updates ahead of time.
- Draft messages for your email marketing campaign or your business’ blog in one batch.
- Create a separate calendar for when you want to send out emails or add new posts to the blog.
- Have posts and emails scheduled to be delivered automatically through your email or content management platform.
Putting as much of your marketing on autopilot as you can eliminates a certain amount of stress while still keeping your business visible.
4. Get your holiday budget in shape
Just like holiday shoppers may tend to overspend without a budget in place, retail store owners can end up in the hole if they’re not running the numbers beforehand.
- Go over your existing budget and consider which expenses may increase over the holidays.
- Review any temporary additions to your budget related to the holidays, such as the cost of decorating or anything you may need to spend to host an in-store event.
- Look for expenses you could reduce over the holidays.
- Review last year’s sales figures and work up an estimated sales projection for this year’s holiday season.
- Consider your cash flow to determine whether you’ll have enough money coming in to pay for any added expenses.
- Apply for a small business loan if necessary to purchase inventory, cover payroll or manage other expenses during the holidays.
Taking a closer look at your budget before the holidays get in full swing allows you to pinpoint potential trouble spots so you can find solutions sooner rather than later.
Strategic Funding provides needed operating funds to small businesses. Strategic Funding has helped businesses from hundreds of industries. Industries served include: restaurants, personal services, construction, medical, manufacturing, agriculture, retail stores, automotive, and food stores.