How to Get the Most out of the Holidays: When it’s not Your Busy Season!
by Caron_Beesley, Community Moderator
- Created: November 18, 2010, 4:24 am
- Updated: October 18, 2011, 11:37 am
Ho! Ho! Ho!
It's holiday season once more and the malls and stores are strewn with festive décor and are aloud with the piped tunes of Bing Crosby!
But what if the holiday season is not your big selling season? For many service-based businesses and retail stores, the holidays can bring a sales blip, and at worst, cash flow issues.
This is why i;s more important than ever to use this time to stay engaged with your customer base, while keeping your business in good management and fiscal shape.
Here are four tips for making the most of holiday season- and ensuring your business remains top of mind into the new year, with a healthy bottom line to boot.
Don't Ignore Marketing during the Holidays
Yes, ok, it may not be your busiest season, but do't ignore the holidays. Dress up your office, your Web site, and your outbound marketing with seasonal touches (a graphic designer can help and email marketing software tools often include free holiday templates).
Send holiday cards to your best customers and, if you can afford it, a token gift to your most strategic customers.
Design a holiday e-newsletter that features a round-up of some of your achievements during the year (clients yo've helped succeed, charitable causes yo've helped, etc.) and, of course, a big thank you to your customers.
Offer a Holiday Special
Coupons, offers, and discounts have a place outside the shopping mall. Consider offering your clients special incentives.
Do't go with a shotgun approach. Instead, find out what your customers have planned for the holidays, or, in the case of business customers, what are their plans for Q1 2011?
Then tie your incentives to meet their needs' for example, a fixed price bundle of services 'Get X, Y, and Z for the value of Z) on a project that you can easily repeat and market to other customers. Make it a time-bound offer so that your clients act now so that you can secure your revenues and cash-flow - and incorporate it into your marketing (web site, email, flyers, etc.).
Use the Time to Meet, Greet, and Network
Networking is something you should be doing all year long, but if you have business clients, what better time to get out there and mingle. Schedule lunch, dinner or a quick meeting to review how you are doing, what you have to offer in 2011, and get a sneak peek into their plans for the new year too.
These two articles can help you get more from networking:
- Going Beyond the Schmooze - How to Embrace Business Networking and Make it Work for Your Needs
- Is the Business Lunch Dead? Nine Tips to Entertain Without Blowing Your Budget (from Susan Solovic)
Take Care of Your Business - Re-group, Review and Plan Ahead
If this is your quiet season, enjoy a breather, celebrate your successes, but also use the time to plan.
Take stock of the business year, conduct employee reviews, and plan for the year ahead. This quick guide offers tips that can help: Taking Stock of the Business Year - How to Conduct a Year-End Review & Plan for the Year Ahead.
And, don't forget to take care of the physical upkeep of your business - whether it's renovation, winterizing your business, fleet maintenance, or odd jobs that you've been putting off.
Does your business slow down during the holidays? What's worked for you during this quiet time? Please leave a comment below.
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General small business tips and tricks.