Autumn 2016 is upon us beginning September 21, 2016.
I am enjoying retirement this year. I daily celebrate the pace of my life and am looking forward to the holidays on the way. I hate to rub it in but I guess this attitude is revealing something about me….I love a lazy morning! Most of our Chamber Members might be feeling something different around October 1…the coming holiday season with busy days and looking for strategies to survive upcoming holidays and preparing for the end of the year.
I located the following article which may be helpful to you in this 4th quarter of the business year.

Posted by Lisa Hephner in Small Business: “Small Business Guide to Surviving the Holiday Busy Season”

Are you ready for another busy holiday season this year? The slow summer months are just ahead of us, but after that it’s busy season. Get ready!
The holiday season can either be your busiest or your slowest time of the year. Help prepare for this season by following these simple tips:

Watch your cash flow: If the holidays are the busiest time for your business, then save money from your increased revenue for the slower months ahead. However, if the holidays are the slowest time for your business, then cut your expenses as much as you can and start a reserve when revenue is flowing again for next holiday season.

Sell gift certificates and gift cards: Almost every business, from dentists to carpet cleaning, can sell gift cards during the holiday season for their services. If the holidays are slow for you, then offer gift cards/certificates at a discount, allowing you to take advantage of holiday buying revenue, and the customer can use it later in the year.

Take advantage of “down” time: Host a networking party, update your website, submit an article to a local publication. Every business has its “down” time and it’s a great time to get caught up on tasks that get pushed to the back burner during the busy months.

Attend holiday parties: Holiday parties are an excellent way to make new contacts and reach potential clients. Attend as many parties as you can–and don’t forget to bring along a handful of business cards.

Send holiday cards and thank you’s: An important part of the holidays for all of us is to send thanks and well wishes to others. This is also important for businesses. Sending a holiday card with “Thanks for being our customer” is a very simple and inexpensive way to remind customers of your business.

Being smart about your holiday spending is also important to small businesses. It might be smarter to purchase your holiday gifts for your employees during the summer months when profits are higher. If you wait to purchase gifts until the start of Q4, you’re taking the risk of jeopardizing your Q4 revenue, profit and forecasting projections.

“HOW SMALL BUSINESSES CAN SURVIVE THE HOLIDAY MADNESS” by Adel Zsurzsan

– Know the dates:  There are days when a lot of people go shopping because of the numerous deals offered by most businesses. Find out the dates of these days, so you can prepare in terms of inventory, manpower, and offers.

– Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and noted as the first day of traditional Christmas shopping.
– Small Business Saturday is the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. First observed in 2010, this day encourages shoppers to do their holiday shopping at their local physical stores and businesses.
– Cyber Sunday is a day to jumpstart Cyber Monday allowing online sellers to increase sales.
– Cyber Monday is always the Monday after Thanksgiving, this day is created to encourage online shopping.
– Giving Tuesday is a day dedicated to giving back or paying forward. It celebrates generosity and encourages giving goods or services to charities or communities.
– Green Monday usually falls on the second Monday of December, this is an online retail industry term to describe the best sales day in December.
– Free Shipping Day started in 2008. This is a promotional holiday to encourage shopping from even small online merchants then get free shipping and guaranteed delivery on or before Christmas Eve.
– Super Saturday is the last Saturday before Christmas Day and for a long time signaled the end of shopping day for the holidays.
– Last Sleigh Day – might just be the new end of holiday shopping season. It is typically the last day online buyers may place orders for expedited shipping. Orders may be received on Christmas Eve.

Knowing the busiest days of the shopping season is just half the battle. You still have marketing and human resources to consider during the holidays.