Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and you know what that means – lake effect freezing temperatures and Black Friday are on the horizon. For many small businesses, the holidays are a time to pull ahead and push for a great last quarter, but it can be difficult to stay ahead with many larger competitors having the edge. If you want to see your small business thrive this holiday, use these tips to stay ahead of the game.
Staff for the season
There’s still a bit of time left to make sure you’ve got all the employees you need to handle the holiday rush. Typically, larger companies have a bit more flexibility with offering seasonal positions; during 2016, U.S. retailers hired an extra 570,000 people for the holiday season. It might be a bit difficult financially to offer positions only for the holidays as a small business, so instead, try to time your hiring push so that it lines up with the holiday season.
Prepare for the rush
Not only do you need to be ready with extra staffing; you need to make sure your workplace’s physical environment is ready for an influx of people. Remind your employees to be safe on the job so nobody gets injured and has to miss work; 22% of slip and fall incidents resulted in more than 31 days away from work. Likewise, prepare any equipment you regularly rely on to get the job done, and have a backup plan in case anything fails, like your computer systems. Over 65% of IT equipment failures are directly attributed to inadequate, poorly maintained or failed air conditioning in the server room. If something goes wrong during a big rush, you need to ensure you have a backup plan so it doesn’t interfere with business too seriously.
Offer the right deals
Every business out there from large to small tries to offer amazing deals and savings to customers as part of the lead up to the holidays. However, don’t just start discounting your products and services without doing some math first. You want to make sure any discounts you offer are going to be offset by the number of customers you’re drawing in. If you can’t offer savings on the level of your competitors, try using other perks to bring in customers that won’t cut into your profits.
Focus on customer service
Finally, as a small business, one of the advantages you have over larger scale corporations is your direct connection with your customers. Do what you can to emphasize customer service and experience during the holiday season – it doesn’t cost anything to be nicer to your customers, but it can bring you larger profits in the long run. In fact, 72% of businesses say improving customer experience is their top priority. Many customers can be a bit difficult to deal with during the holiday season, but patience pays off – try to stay calm and get through the rush, and you’ll be rewarded with more loyal customers.
Running a business leading up to the holiday season can be hard, especially for small, local Michigan businesses already struggling to bring in customers despite the cold. It’s even more frustrating and challenging for small businesses that are attempting to compete with larger companies who can offer larger sales during the holidays. However, if you can capitalize on these strategies and techniques, you’ll be rewarded with increased success gearing up for the holidays to end 2019.