The holiday season is a schism in the business world. On one hand retailers do exceedingly well in this cash rich period of excess and indulgence. One the other hand, service focused or B2B businesses will face a slow period of  shutdown as annual leave is taken in vast blocks and cubicles are left abandoned. Either way, you need to prep!

1) Promo time!

If you are in retail, this is your time to shine, so make it count while you can.
The Christmas season can be the most fruitful time of year for small retail style businesses so it pays to invest a good chunk of your marketing efforts in these few short months. Be creative and make a gift-focused promotion or marketing campaign that taps into the holiday cash waterfall. As with most marketing, act early and be different. Be brave and don’t play it too safe, put out some truly eye catching copy and imagery.  Make your offers genuinely good deals. The marketplace is so crowded these days with advertising that you need to become a hot knife in a world of butter. Cut through!

If you are in B2B however, it’s best to save that marketing budget for a more fruitful time of year.

2) Communicate business times

If you are extending your retail hours, make some noise about it. If you will be shutting down, make some noise about it! Leaving your customers in the dark is tantamount to abandonment. Either brag about your extended hours to make the most of the opportunity or make it very clear you won’t be open to avoid some serious frustration and lost business.

2) Stock up

On top of increased retail sales you will also see a slow down or closure of supply lines, so be prepared.  Within reason, pump your stock levels to deal with demand and think on the little things – more bags and receipt rolls for example.

3) Cashflow

Your cashflow in this period will be again dependant on your businesses function.
Expect a Christmas bonus in retail but be wary of saving some for a rainy day – you may need to spread this success over the slower periods of the year so be prudent and think ahead.

If your business will be closed or slow over the silly season, you need to be prepped ahead of time, ensuring you have enough in reserve to pay wages, rent and utilities while your balance takes a temporary thrashing.

4) Your people

Your people need taking care of in this period, in retail you will need to have extra casual staff on hand and be ready for the inevitable holiday sickies. In B2B businesses, you need to be ready for the influx of annual leave and ensuring you are ready with enough staff when the period cools and work resumes.