You have been preparing for weeks, or more likely, months. You are hoping to have big business in the next two weeks. Yes, it is the “most wonderful time of the year.”
Time for a check-up
You DO NOT need to rush out and buy a gallon of Tums just yet. You DO need to take the next few days to double and triple check every touch point your customers will have with your business. Depending on your category, your business will have different “live world” needs. Be sure you are staffed-up, set-up, cleaned-up, and amped-up.
Don’t forget, your business needs to be ready online too. Check every link on your website. Schedule who is monitoring your Facebook and Twitter accounts for feedback, and be sure to empower your team to reply quickly. You might want to make a quick call and add some holiday graphics and specials to your landing pages. (Winding Staircase is on your speed-dial by now, right?)
Now take a breath
Nobody knows how this holiday season is going to play out. The projections for total sales are basically flat. (Pre-season imports were down.) The mix between online and in-store sales has been trending toward more online for several years, but there has really only been three years of significant online holiday sales. Will customers want big ticket items? How will the big brands perform? Will family-oriented products have another big year? We will all find out together. For now, FOCUS ON EXECUTION, and worry about crunching the numbers later.
Have a plan B
The great benefit of being a small business is you can be flexible. You can react quickly. For many businesses, even suppliers and service companies, the next 10 weeks will determine survival. (Yes, 10 weeks, returns and exchanges matter, now more than ever.) If something is working, promote it. If a product is failing, dump the price and clear the inventory, now. The most important metrics in this environment are sales, free cash, and inventory. You will know where you should adjust.
Remember, you are not alone in these rough seas. Many businesses are apprehensive about the next two months. (This year has certainly been an awakening for me and my team. We definitely have a new appreciation for the struggles of small businesses.)
Remember to laugh.
After all, it is the “most wonderful time of the year.”
- 5 Platforms for Content Marketing
- Social Media and the Marketing Mix
- How to build an effective internet sales process – Internet Advertising 101 (Part 1)