A busy holiday schedule is only compounded as a small business owner. Here are a few things you can do to ensure success during the holiday season.
Few things are more stressful than preparing your home for the holidays. You want to have a warm and welcoming experience with your friends and family, but that pile of dirty clothes and that stack of dirty dishes in the sink is standing smack between you and your Merry Christmas. When you are running and managing your own business, chances are you will be faced with a different list of must-do items that need to be checked off before you enjoy the holidays.
Instead of zeroing in on the smells coming from your hamper, you probably have a laundry list of to-doâ€™s that need to be to-doneâ€™s. Maybe in place of that teetering stack of dishes, you have a budget that desperately needs to be balanced. Whatever challenges your business faces, it is important to create a plan that will help make sure youâ€™re ready for the holidays ahead.
Luckily, there are a few things that every business can do to â€śclean-houseâ€ť and prepare themselves for this holiday season. Below weâ€™ve put together a short list of some of the most universal tips businesses can follow to maximize their holiday success.
- Your Online Presence: The Digital Door to Your Business
With everyone operating on their mobile phones, even as tools to help them navigate to brick-and-mortar businesses, it is important that you make sure your online presence is up to date and accurate. Think of it as the door to your business. If your door has the wrong information on it, people probably wonâ€™t come in. If it doesnâ€™t function properly, they canâ€™t come in. Here are a few things you can do to prevent this from happening to your business:- Websiteâ€™s â€śContact Usâ€ť Information: Make sure your website has the correct information listed on your Contact Us page. Is the phone number correct? Test it just to be sure. Physical Address? Make sure you list any important directions if people might have a hard time finding you. Email? It canâ€™t hurt to test that as well. If you are like many businesses, you may even have a form on your website that you provide for customers to fill out. Test that form yourself and make sure the information is going to the correct people. Few things are more discouraging than reaching out to a company you are interested in doing business with and not getting a response.
– Google My Business: Make sure to check out what your business information looks like on your Google My Business profile. Information posted to this profile is typically what people will connect with when they use tools like Google Maps to navigate to your business. It is also where people can leave reviews about your company and let people know what it is like doing business with you.
– Social Media Platforms: When your business moves locations or changes hours of operation (special holiday hours, anyone?), it is important to make sure those details make it to all of the places you officially publish information about your organization. Social media platforms like Facebook have places where you can list your business address, hours, contact information, etc. It is a good idea to give each of your social profiles a good once over to make sure all of the business information you are listing is still accurate. You never know where a potential customer might start their search to try to get in contact with you.
- Spruce Up Your Customer Service
If you are going to go through all the effort of making it easier for customers to find you online, the last thing you want is to chase them away with poor customer service when they do reach out. Try some of these tricks to help prevent this peril from impacting your business this holiday season:- Inspect What You Expect: It is common for moral to go stale and for routine tasks to become mundane. This holiday season, consider a quick rehearsal with your team and make sure they clearly understand how to handle different scenarios. You may even decide you want to build this kind of quick huddle into your routine so everyone has a regular refresher of what is expected, while allowing team members the opportunity to provide valuable feedback that could improve how the business responds to different situations.
– Divide & Conquer: If you are planning for success, you already expect that your in-house staff will be busier during holidays than your average business day. Rather than accepting the high cost of hiring additional seasonal help, consider partnering with a phone answering service that can help free up your teamâ€™s time and increase the effectiveness of your current hired talent. With a 24 hour phone answering service, you can even expand your phone support hours for the holidays, while only paying for the time agents are speaking with your callers.
- Prepare Promotions In Advance
Surprise deals may be exciting as a customer, but the most successful businesses tend to be the ones who have been planning their holiday promotions weeks, months, even a year or more in advance. If you donâ€™t already have your holiday specials planned out, it isnâ€™t too late to sit down and make some strategic decisions. In a virtual sea of promotions and discounts, one of the best things you can do with your offers this year is to look for a way to stand out.- Â Consider Focusing on Value over Discounts: It may be tempting to compete with the big price cutters out there, but instead of getting caught up in a race for the bottom dollar, consider looking for ways to make your business stand out by delivering more value. A great example of a company who refuses to devalue their brand with price cutting is Nintendo. Just this year, Nintendo released its new console, the Nintendo Switch. To date, the Nintendo Switch has sold 10M units, putting it on par with the PS4 console. Why does this matter? If you were one of the many discount shoppers who have come to expect huge savings on Black Friday and were looking to get a deal on a Nintendo Switch, you would have been pretty disappointed. The reason Nintendo can compete with consoles like PlayStation who gave a $100 discount on their PS4s this Black Friday is because Nintendo doesnâ€™t have to discount, and if you are creative enough, neither do you.
When it comes to creatively adding value, consider offering a higher level of service than your competitors, or making your company more available and easier to do business with. By using an answering service like we mentioned previously, many of these service improvements become more achievable, AND could free you up to find even more creative ways to make your specific business more compelling to buy from.
With the holidays upon us, it may seem like there simply isnâ€™t enough time to get everything done. This feeling is common and you shouldnâ€™t let it discourage or overwhelm you. Instead, try to keep things as simple as possible. Focusing on this short list of the top 3 things businesses can do to prepare for the holidays is a great way to begin positioning yourself for a successful end of year run. Good luck and happy holidays!