The festive season is traditionally the time of year when businesses, particularly those that are service focused, experience a boom. To make the most of the increased customer spending that is linked to the year-end holidays, SMEs can exercise the following five tips:
Plan for changing cash flow:
The holiday sales boom is, unfortunately, always followed by a slow beginning to the New Year. Examine your cash flow figures for the same period in 2014, estimate what you will make this year, and then try to you put away enough money to carry you through the quiet trading period to come.
Check your shelves:
Make an assessment of what sold well during the year and what didn’t. Take the slow-moving items off your shelves, discount them and place them where they can’t be missed as part of your ‘year-end sale’. Then check with your suppliers to boost stocks of the items that sold well, and also for new, attractive merchandise that may draw customers.
Up your marketing:
Promotions and special offers always attract customers, especially when they are twinned with convenience. Use signage outside and inside your store or business to draw attention to discounts, prize draws, product ‘bundles’, and even a gift-wrapping and delivery service.
Improve your staff’s selling skills:
Make sure that you have enough staff to cope with the holiday influx, and that they are fully clued-up on the products or services you offer. The more your employees know about your store’s items, the more effectively they will sell to customers.
Plan your January sale:
Getting an early start in January can boost an otherwise quiet month and help counteract a drop in cash flow. Think about offering New Year’s Day specials with discounts that will attract loyal - as well as new - customers. It is also a great way to get rid of excess stock left over from the festive season.
Implementing the above tips may take a little time and effort, but the potential rewards for small-business owners are worth it.