The holidays are a time to relax, celebrate, and make time for family. As a small business owner, you and your staff have worked hard all year, so you deserve to kick back, relax, and get into the holiday spirit.
However, the end of the year brings the highest levels of customer spending and the busiest time for most businesses. It’s important to have a business continuity plan and a strategy in place so that you can keep your clients happy while enjoying your hard-earned time off.
Check your website
Take some time to review your small business website and ensure it’s ready for the busy holiday season. Is your website design clean? Is it easy to find your most popular products or services? If you offer e-commerce on your site, is it easy to use? See if an unbiased, trusted friend or colleague will review your website so that you can ensure all of these questions are answered. If you’ve spent a ton of time looking at your site, they may be able to identify usability issues that you have missed.
Factor in the weather
As we all know, the weather changes rapidly this time of year and can cause increased business disruption. For example, snow or ice storms may cause phone lines to go down and pipes to freeze. Weather could also disrupt transportation. Make sure to keep this in mind and have backup plans in place for such events.
Make holiday schedules
Take some time to determine your holiday hours. Will you be open longer than normal to account for the busy season? Will you be closing your business for a few days during the holidays? Whatever you decide, make sure that you communicate any changes with your staff.
To plan better schedules ahead of time, ask your staff to request any holiday time off by a certain date so you can accommodate them. You should also make sure you know when your suppliers are going on holiday to ensure that your supply chain will run smoothly.
It’s important to also communicate any holiday hour changes with customers. You can put an announcement on your website, on social media, in your email signature, and in your store.
Stock extra inventory
Take a look at your holiday sales data from last year to estimate your holiday orders this year. If there was an increase in orders, make sure to place orders with your vendors ahead of time. Mark any order deadlines on a calendar to ensure that they don’t pass you by.
If you’re worried that you’ll be short on staff, consider hiring seasonal workers. By outsourcing some of your key functions and having additional help during the busy season, you will avoid the challenges that come with being understaffed.
No matter what you do to prepare, one of the most important tips is to take time to relax and celebrate. With all the work that goes into the planning, remember to have a good time and encourage your team to do so as well.