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Maximizing Business Success during the Busy Holiday Season
  • 04 December 2018
  • Rebecca Delaney

Maximizing Business Success during the Busy Holiday Season

Managing employees during the hectic holiday season can be an added stressor during an already busy time, but a little planning can go a long way to make it a stress-free holiday season for your small business and your staff. Below are a few tips for maximizing your business’ success during the holidays:

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1. Look back before planning ahead

Take some time to review how your business performed last holiday season. Was there a mad rush of last-minute shoppers on Christmas Eve? Or was your business eerily quiet because everyone was at home with their families? Were you short on help during these busy times, or were your employees looking for ways to fill their time because they were bored? If you need help filling the blanks, ask a staff member who you trust to sit down with you and piece together the areas in which your business did a good job with staffing last holiday season and the areas where you could definitely improve.

2. Plan well in advance

If possible, ask your employees to submit their time-off requests as early as they can for the holiday season. Be sure to remind them that if you need coverage, you may not be able to accommodate all time-off requests, and encourage employees to be flexible. Also be prepared to fill in the gaps if you need coverage and your staff are all asking for the same time off to be with their families this season.

3. Reach out to vendors

When planning for the holidays, take your vendors' schedules into account as well. Will they be closed for the holidays at all? Will they be open on an abbreviated schedule? During your review of last year's holiday season, be sure to analyze your sales data and note any items that were particularly popular last season so you can contact your vendors and arrange to have adequate inventory. Also consider overlaying their holiday schedule with yours and your staff's so you know you will have coverage to receive deliveries when they arrive.

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4. Consider hiring temporary help

After Thanksgiving college students start returning home for a month- (or more) long break. After they recover from exams, they may be looking for ways to make some extra cash before they return to campus. Hiring seasonal help can be a great way to provide a break to your regular staff who may want the extra time off to get holiday shopping done or have more time to spend with their families. And if all goes well, your holiday hires could become your summer help as well.

College students can also infuse a fresh perspective into your social media or marketing efforts. Have them take over your business Instagram account for a day during the holiday season or write a post on your blog about working for your company.

5. Check your Chamber of Commerce and town's event calendar

Does your town have a Main Street holiday event to drive business to local shops? Is your area Chamber of Commerce running any holiday-related promotions? Be sure to check in with your downtown business association or local Chamber to get up to speed on holiday happenings in your area. These events will drive foot traffic to your business, and you will want to be prepared not only with inventory, but also with the right amount of staff to help the additional customers who come through your doors.

Planning ahead and analyzing what worked and what did not work for your small business last year can help transform a potentially stressful time to a joyful and prosperous season for you and your staff.

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