When most people think of the holiday season, images of family gatherings, joyful occasions and time off of work tend to come to mind. But if you're a small business owner we know that's not always the case. The combination of online and in-person sales that will occur in the coming months can either be incredibly profitable for any small business or completely overwhelming if that business isn't properly prepared. Because of this, we wanted to gather some helpful information to get all of you small business owners through the next several months of the holiday season fever.
Keep a List of Important Dates
It might seem a bit much to start preparing for the holidays in September, but trust us it's never too early to start. You're going to want to create a list of the holiday's you plan on promoting for your business as well as any suggested shipping deadlines from your mailing carrier (if you're an online business). To get you started, we've put together the top holiday season dates you might want to add to your list:
2018 Holiday Season Dates (United States):
November 22nd - Thanksgiving November 23rd - Black Friday November 24th - Small Business Saturday November 26th - Cyber Monday December 2nd - Hanukkah begins December 10th - Hanukkah ends December 24th - Christmas Eve December 25th - Christmas Day December 31st - New Year's Eve January 1st - New Year's Day
Once you have your list of holidays, you're going to want to take inventory of everything in your shop. Add up the total number of items you currently have, take note of your best sellers this year, and compare them to the best sellers during the holiday season of last year. This way you're able to get a general idea of the pieces or products you might want to have more of in preparation for the holiday season. Also, if you're creating or selling specific products or items geared towards the holidays (for example a Christmas card), you'll want to start thinking about the number of that item you're going to produce and when you plan on adding it to your website or storefront. A good rule of thumb is to start selling holiday specific items at least two months in advance. So if you're starting to prep for Christmas, you'll want to have your products ready by the end of October. Don't forget that taking inventory also applies to your shipping materials, packaging materials, as well as the materials you utilize to create your products.
Promote, Promote, Promote
Start brainstorming how you want to promote each holiday on your list. Set promotion goals for each social media platform, as well as your website, seller's markets you're participating in, your newsletters/mailing list, and your storefront. If you plan on running any sales during the holiday season, be sure to schedule them accordingly. If you're already a PLANOLY user, you know that you can utilize our app to schedule Instagram Posts and Stories months in advance which is a perfect way to ensure you keep all of your promotions organized. Another way to promote your small business during the holiday season is by running a social media contest or giveaway that revolves around a particular holiday from your list. Giveaways and contest are a cost-efficient way to successfully engage with your existing customers as well as draw in new potential customers.
Give Yourself a Break
We know how stressful it can be having to run things on your own, but it's important to set time aside yourself. Whether that means hiring some temporary help for the holiday season or taking a week off before things get too crazy...it's key for you to create downtime. As difficult as it might be, creating and sticking to a set schedule for yourself will make a huge difference during the holidays. Set aside a certain number of hours per day to complete your work, so that you can enjoy your off time to spend with your friends and family. Managing your time wisely will allow you to enjoy the holiday season to the fullest!
Click here to download our list of holiday season dates to remember, as well as printable to-do lists!