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7 Ways for Businesses to Beat the Christmas Rush
Every year, the Christmas rush begins earlier than before. It’s almost like the festive lights and decorations go up the day after Halloween. If you own a retail business, we don’t have to tell you this. You’ll know the stress and success that comes with the festive season.
But the Christmas rush doesn’t have to be something you dread. In fact, it’s a very profitable time of year for most businesses if you know how to handle it. We’ve got some tips to ensure your business can beat the Christmas rush and enjoy the festivities.
Think Back to Last Christmas
If you’re an experienced business, you should know roughly what to expect when it comes to the Christmas rush. Hopefully, you’ll have some invaluable information that will help you to prepare for the next one. For example, last year’s stock records can point you in the right direction when it comes to customer demand. Perhaps there are certain products that flew off the shelves quicker than others. If that product is popular, you can ensure this doesn’t happen again.
What about your team; were there enough staff members to deal with the Christmas rush? If you fell behind with offers or noticed a delay in your services, now is the time to do something about it. You can add seasonal staff to deal with the rush so you don’t lose sales or damage your reputation.
Have Lots of Presents on the Shelves
As a business, you’ve probably received the warning that it can be risky using too much of your capital for stock. But at this time of year, not having enough stock can damage your sales and affect your business. Using the information from last year, you can go through all of your stock before Christmas to see the demand. Look at the latest buying trends this year too to understand what customers may be looking for. This way, you can invest in stock that you can sell.
Consider More Elves
Let’s be honest; Christmas shopping can be very stressful. There’s the panic of last-minute buying and not finding the perfect present for a loved one. So, this means that you’ll probably have to deal with some grumpy customers at some point. But something that will make this even worse is not having enough staff. At this time of year, customers are already in a bad mood and won’t stand around forever to be served. If they have a bad experience, this can have a negative impact on your sales and business. Considering seasonal staff to step in can be an investment that pays for itself.
Invest in a Holiday Marketing Campaign
‘Tis the season to attract more customers. You know everyone is going to be doing their Christmas shopping. So, why not point them towards your business? A successful marketing campaign is going to see a boost in customers over the festive period. There are several techniques you can use. For example, utilise the reach of social media and post giveaways, competitions and Christmas adverts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This is going to boost your profile and attract new and loyal customers.
Don’t forget that you’ve got a database full of customer’s details. In particular, we’re talking about email addresses. You can create a Christmas newsletter to promote special discounts you may be running or popular products that are trending this year.
Reign in the Festive Cheer
We know it can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon and start your Christmas promotions early. But not everybody likes this. In fact, it can turn customers away from your brand. While it’s good to plan in advance, don’t start your campaigning too early. You want to make your customers feel like they’re getting a good deal when the Christmas rush starts. If you’re running the same promotions from September, they won’t have the same appeal. We’d say that November is a good time to prepare for Christmas. By the end of the month, you’ll see an increase in customers wanting to start their shopping.
Remember Your Other Customers
Christmas is all about sharing the love. So, don’t forget to be inclusive and remember those customers that choose not to celebrate the holiday. It’s easy to get caught up in the bright lights and carols but remember to accommodate customers of other faiths during this time. Take note of your local population and adjust your seasonal approach accordingly.
Stand Out with Christmas Wrapping
If there’s one thing everyone hates about Christmas it’s definitely wrapping all of those presents under the tree! It’s time-consuming and tedious. Of course, this offers you some ground to exploit. Why not start offering gift-wrapping services? Just adding on a little extra with every purchase can offer a surprisingly good margin on each sale. Plus, you’ll have happy customers that are glad they don’t have to do it at home! A gift-wrapping service can also make you stand out from the competition.
Think About Cash Flow
The festive season does require businesses to outlay more money on campaigns, staff and stock. Do you need a cash injection ahead of the Christmas rush? It may be best to seek a business loan to help out with the month ahead so that you can invest in your brand and see an increase in sales.
Small business owners face more challenges that larger corporations during a bad economic climate. In fact, the unpredictability can be worrying and this means it’s essential to prepare. This can ensure you don’t run into problems with cash flow. Your revenue is everything and while having a profitable month is fantastic, it’s not going to ensure you make it through an economic downturn. After all, small businesses still have staff to pay, rental agreements and other commitments. Let’s take a look at how problems can happen and how you can protect your business.
Causes of Poor Cash Flow
One of the main reasons for poor cash flow is simply a decrease in revenue. Every business has its ups and downs; some slower months may have been predicted, as well as some unexpected twists in the road. Either way, it can affect how much cash is available. In addition, expenses you weren’t expecting can affect the books. For example, if there’s flooding or a piece of equipment breaks, you’ve got no choice but to carry out the repairs.
Late payments from clients can have a negative effect. If they default on their debt, this means fewer funds for you when you need it. In turn, it can affect you paying your bills too. While offering credit is a good way to build sales, it does come with a risk and late payment is a common problem.
Watch out that you don’t overtrade. If you’re trying to expand your business before you’re ready, this can affect cash flow. What happens is that you increase resources and payments before you’ve received cash from new customers. You may be hit by a seasonal business trend, which leaves you in a bad position. The last thing you want to do is then borrow money and can’t pay it off.
You may experience poor cash flow if your overheads are too high. Of course, you need to pay things like and utility bills to keep your business running. But if expenses start to get too much without you realising, this will mean you make less profit. It’s best to review all your expenses regularly to avoid this from happening. Often, there are cheaper options you can swap to.
Ways to Protect Your Business
Season changes are something that affects every business. This means that certain times of the year or even your location can disrupt the cash flow. While these factors are often out of your control, making sure that you maintain a healthy business during these spells can make sure that you don’t have to close your doors prematurely.
First, pinpoint and recognise where the seasonal shifts are for your business. It’s important to be honest and work out the best times for profit and when the slower months are. Looking at your records can help you decide, but if you don’t have any, you can always examine general statistics from your industry. Businesses that are similar to yours in terms of size and location will help you figure it out. It’s best to start keeping records if you can.
You’ll be aware of what your fixed expenses are. But it’s also necessary to examine the variable costs of your business. It’s easy to overlook them, yet it can be these figures that impact on your cash flow. So, take the time to examine any fluctuating costs such as insurance premiums and tax payments.
There are going to be times when your business incurs an unexpected expense. Perhaps emergency repairs are needed or your services have had a bad month. Instead of worrying about it, you can be more productive by considering alternative funding to combat the issue. For example, you can consider using a short-term business loan to help through the difficult time. This cash injection can be used for expenses you have to pay in the meantime.
Staying on top of finances is always advised. This means creating a calendar and documenting every month. This is going to give you an insight into your business’s cash flow so that you can keep up. It’ll allow you to interpret when cash shortages may arise and when you can expect higher cash flow. Remember that ups and downs in business are normal. It’s best to be honest and accurate when it comes to finances so that you can make informed decisions for your business.
Become an Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Small Business
Over the last few years, everybody has been trying to understand how their actions impact the environment. We all want to help save the planet. In particular, business owners are conscious that consumers care about going green when it comes to products and services. In fact, a lot of consumer purchase decisions are now based on the environmental ethos of businesses and their commitment to going green. Therefore, sustainability has become an important aspect of business for companies around the world.
So, is it time for your business to begin its eco-friendly journey? Let’s take a look at how you can promote sustainability in today’s eco-conscious world.
It Starts with Planning
Without a plan, you can easily get lost when you’re going green with your business. It can be a big transformation and preparation will be the key to success. This means sitting around a table and creating a strategy. This is going to allow you to track your goals and whether you are achieving them. It’s important to be realistic with your targets at this stage. This means starting small and working your way up.
It’s always important to know the cost of the actions you plan to follow. Share this with your team and make it a group effort. This is going to make sustainable actions achievable in the long term. This may take some encouragement. Perhaps you can even try incentives such as bonuses or extra holiday time for cycling to work or recycling.
You’re making big steps towards going green and transforming your business; make sure your customers know about it. Of course, your employees will begin to learn about the strategy you have in place, but you’ll need to market this progress to your customers to feel the real benefits of your work.
Don’t forget about your competitors. Consumers have so many choices when it comes to buying that they now look into the brand they’re purchasing from. It’s not all about the price or quality of the item anymore; they want to know more about you. In fact, studies show that customers are now willing to pay more if they believe the company is sustainable and making positive moves to help the environment and social causes. So, make sure that you boast about your eco-friendly efforts to promote your business.
Do Not Use Standby
There are easy changes you can make around your business that can make a difference. For example, do you leave appliances or electronics on standby? According to statistics, £227m is wasted every year in UK households because people are not switching off their appliances. You can easily reduce your carbon footprint by making a conscious effort to switch off lights and heating. You’ll definitely notice a reduction in your bills. You can easily retain heat by closing doors and making sure windows are closed, as well as adjusting your thermostat. Did you know that lowering your thermostat by 1 Degree Celsius can actually mean you save £60 a year on heating?
We know that it can be hard during the colder months of the year to switch off your heating. But you can still make a difference to the environment by using timers. This is something you can also do with your lighting and making it only turn on with monitor detection sensors. With some more investment, you can use smart energy apps like Hive and Nest. This allows you to monitor your energy usage.
Switching Energy Sources
It’s time to consider renewable energy sources for your business. This is the transition that a lot of small businesses are going through right now in order to help the environment and save on energy. This includes using solar and wind power to generate electricity and heating. For example, you can use solar panels to generate electricity or collect rainwater to use in your plumbing system. If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge straight away, you can start smaller. This includes changing your lights. You can save money and lower your carbon footprint by switching to energy-efficient LEDs.
Suppliers and Packaging Revisions
Examining your core business areas will reveal where you can make sustainability changes and make a positive impact on the environment. For example, take a look at your existing suppliers. Are their practices sustainable? Do they use any toxic substances that are harmful? Packaging is another aspect you can look at. Examine whether there are ways you can cut down on packaging or reuse resources to help the environment. Studies find that more consumers are now looking for products that use eco-friendly packaging. In addition, they’re willing to spend more cash on sustainable goods.
Reuse and Recycling Practices
Ever heard of the phrase, reduce, reuse and recycle? This is something you can do in your small business to help the planet. Instead of just thinking about how your products are made, you should also remember to think about what happens after they’ve been enjoyed. For example, can it be reused or recycled in the future?
Already, there are stores across the country that run eco-friendly initiatives that are popular with customers. This includes vouchers for recycling clothing. Incentivising eco-friendly efforts with your customers can build rapport and is beneficial to the environment at the same time.
There are also practices you can change in your business every day to improve sustainability. This includes creating less waste during production. While this may seem like a daunting and expensive task, it’s often more efficient in the long run. Trying out some of these small changes can really make a difference:
- Use recycling bins in the office
- Recycle or repair appliances
- Switch to rechargeable batteries
- Use recycled office supplies
- Promote reusable Tupperware
Time to Make Changes
Becoming a sustainable business definitely has its benefits. You can improve your brand image and form a trusting relationship with new and old customers. You can also increase your productivity while reducing your costs too. Reducing your waste remains one of the easiest ways to become eco-friendlier. But hopefully this guide gives you some inspiration to assess your business and create a strategy for success!
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