This time of year, most small businesses encounter a last minute rush as Christmas and summer holidays loom. Everyone wants to either buy it or get it done before Christmas. While this consumer imposed deadline isn’t always rational, it can still often be an exciting time for business revenue and growth. After all, the holiday season is when consumers spend more than $11 billion. However, performing this additional work can also be a challenge, especially if your business is unprepared for the upcoming avalanche. If you want to ensure your business is ready, keep the following tips in mind.
Determine where to focus your efforts and time
Think about which customers to focus on, and who may require less work. Is performing the work critical or can it be realistically delayed until a more suitable time? Loyal, long-time customers may be more understanding when you are busy whereas new customers are likely to simply go somewhere else.
Manage Customer Expectations
Make sure you only make promises on what you know you can deliver, when you can deliver it, and ensure you fulfill those promises. Set out to wow your customers from the beginning by promising what you can actually deliver on schedule. Only promise a schedule, service, or level of quality that you can actually supply.
Don’t Forget Existing Customers
It’s easy to get caught up pursuing the new customers that knock on your door. It can be a fun and satisfying experience selling your merits to a new customer. Just don’t invest all your time and effort marketing to new customers while neglecting your existing ones. Remember your existing customers have already been converted and all the initial hard work has already been done. Embrace the new challenge, but don’t neglect the source of income you already have.
Forward planning is critical to ensure that you have the resources to cope with the additional demand. Check the availability of staff during and after the holidays now and investigate whether you may need any new hires. Consider other resources including cash flow availability and inventory as they may be hard to obtain when business gets hectic and your suppliers have already closed up for the holidays.
Streamline and review your operations
Leading up to the holidays, you can’t stumble or fumble the ball. Your internal operations and procedures need to be working smoothly. Make time now to get your operations in order and repair and improve any processes that aren’t working. Once you’ve done that, make your employees aware of those changes. When the pressure is on, you wont have time to worry about the process and should instead be focused solely on customers, sales and service.
While plans are critical—so is flexibility. Start with your plan, but make sure you’re prepared to make changes. You can never predict the future, so keep an open mind about adapting those plans as needed.