3 Steps to a Successful Holiday Season for Your Business

By on October 24, 2014

“Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring ting tingling too. Come on, it’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.”

Christmas songs on the radio are usually the first sign for me that the holidays are fast-approaching. It starts with one or two songs and then, before I know it, every station is belting out “Run Run Rudolph.”

For small business owners, planning for the holidays comes much earlier. According to Staples fall survey of 510 small business owners, 62 percent look forward to fall as the start of the holiday season. By the time you’re reading this blog post, I hope that you have already put together your strategy on how to maximize the upcoming opportunities. The holidays are all about executing your plan. They are not a time for trial and error. In some cases, the next two months may represent over 50% of a company’s annual revenue.

Other findings from the Staples survey found that small business owners want to improve business this holiday season by:

  • Increasing promotional marketing (26%)
  • Developing social media (21%)
  • Managing inventory better (14%)

If you have big expectations for this holiday season, then you need to make sure your strategy and plans are in place and you are ready to go when the whistle blows…or the songs start playing on the radio. Here are three steps to help your business make more happen this holiday season:

1)    Strategy – What are your specific goals for the holiday season? Do you want to hit a certain revenue goal? Sell a certain number of products? Businesses with specific goals will almost always outperform similar companies without goals or plans. Everything you do in November and December, from hiring seasonal employees to tweeting about special sales, should help you achieve these strategic goals.

2)    Planning – How will you achieve your specific, strategic and measurable goals? Will you offer discounts? Will you have extended business hours for shoppers? Are you thinking about using social media to generate buzz for your business? Do you have the supplies you need for the holiday season? There are few things worse than having to go back to the same store again and again because you underestimated the amount of supplies needed for November and December. You also run the risk of the store being out of the one item that you need more than all the other items combined. A retailer like Staples, which offers one million+ products, can help make sure you have the right supplies in place to execute your plan, whether you run a restaurant, spa or store.

3)    Execution – There will come a time when the strategy and planning periods are over (and that time is probably very soon). You then need to execute. You also need to regularly review your plans and strategic goals. Invariably, you will have to make adjustments along the way. You also want to see what’s working and possibly double down on your efforts in that particular area.

The holidays, for many small business owners, represent a culmination of all the hard work you put into your business during the year. It’s like the farmer harvesting his or her crop. Finish the year on the strong note, toast your success on December 31st, take off on New Year’s Day and then get ready to do it all over again. Who doesn’t love being a business owner?

Check out the Staples Small Business Center with tips, deals and products to help make more happen at your small business every day.

About Brian Moran

Prior to rejoining the world of entrepreneurship, Brian was the Executive Director of Sales Development at the Wall Street Journal where he oversaw the sales development and marketing programs for the financial and small business categories among the many Journal brands. From 2002-2010, Brian was President of Veracle Media and Moran Media Group.

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