With every employee requesting time off, and your partner companies having inconsistent schedules, it can be difficult to think of the holidays as a productive time for business. But amidst the family Christmas parties, sewing recital costumes and travel plans, it is possible to turn out a profit during this busy time of year.
First and foremost, take advantage of holiday marketing to boost sales.
It's no secret that consumers tend to spend a little more during the holiday season. According to the CFA, consumers plan to spend more than they did last year. In fact, eight out of 12 people state that they plan on spending more money this year than they have in the past. So as a small business, it's just a smart move to take advantage of the spending fever. No matter your industry -- consumers are planning to spend more.
The holidays are a great excuse to get creative with marketing. Hold promotions like "The 12 Days of Deals," host contests to get your customers involved, and definitely participate is Cyber Monday. We learned this year that Cyber Monday is the small business holiday to focus on. It seems that more customers are looking for deals online than they ever have before. According to another Huffington Post article, "Online sales Monday jumped 17 percent from last year, totaling nearly $2.04 billion." Though even after black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, there are still plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the holiday buzz. Promotions and contests are a great way to get people, who might not have otherwise been exposed to your company, to try out your products or service. Just be sure to advertise your promotions and contests on plenty of deal websites -- where serious holiday shoppers go to hunt.
Take the opportunity to clear stock.
Hopefully all your creative holiday marketing and sales ploys will do the job of clearing out a good amount of stock. In fact, hold promotions around a specific product that hasn't been doing so hot this season, just to even things out. Focus on what isn't being sold, and what needs to be cleaned out to start the New Year fresh. There's nothing worse than starting the year with an inaccurate amount of products and supplies. Take the end of the year to figure out exactly how much you need of everything for next year, based on what you used this year.
'Tis the season for team building!
Holiday parties have earned the reputation of mixing a professional atmosphere with a good amount of festive drinking. For this reason, they typically accompany the mentality of "just needing to get through the company party." Some employees fear that they'll embarrass themselves by speaking a little too candidly to a superior, while some simply don't want another evening of awkward networking. This way of thinking is such a shame, because not only are holiday parties a great way to team build, but they're a great way to say thank you to your employees.
As this Grind Stone article goes to say, "[I don't like the phrase,] "I don't need to say thank you, that's what I pay you for." Throwing money in someone's direction might be appreciated, but it feels like a much less personal way of showing one's gratitude."
There's no reason we're not all capable of having fun along with our employees and superiors. Putting work aside for a couple hours to eat, drink and be merry is a wonderful way to build a stronger team. If there's an element of friendship in the workplace, work doesn't seem so much like work. Holiday parties are a great place to start building those relationships.