The weather is cooling, the leaves are transforming and your favorite coffee shops and craft breweries are all releasing their pumpkin-flavored concoctions. And depending on the type of business you run, your strategy may be changing up in a major way.
While not all of these strategies will work for your individual business, these general guidelines will.
If you run a product-based business
Whether you manufacture and sell your own line of organic jams or savvily source garage sales for items to resale on eBay, you’re probably gearing up for the most wonderful (and profitable!) time of the year.
Business wisdom says that eCommerce sellers should begin preparing for the holiday season as soon as the last holiday season is over. But even if you’re just now getting in the mood for holiday cheer, consider these fall business moves:
Get the timing right
“Fall” may not feel like the holidays to you, but consumers are doing their shopping sooner than ever. Be sure your store is ready for the holiday season as early as September!
Stock up on best sellers
Read the industry trend reports and stock up on inventory. The last thing you want this holiday season is to have customers clamoring for an item you can’t get your hands on.
Revamp your website
Spruce up your website for the holidays. You’re your predicted best sellers easy to find, add suggested secondary items or even include gift-wrapping as an option. Be sure to widely publicize the things that customers want to know, like holiday shipping cut off dates and the best way to reach customer service.
Consider discounts and promotions
The holiday season can be a cutthroat retail environment. Consider discounts, promotions, special offers for signing up for email lists and more to keep customers clicking “buy now.”
Line up extra help
Make sure you’ll have all the help you need sourcing, fulfilling orders, shipping and answering customer service queries.
Know your numbers
It isn’t enough to simply make lots of sales. You want to make sure that Q4 is a profitable one. Make sure your products are priced competitively but profitably. If you’ve been in business more than one year, try pulling your weekly profit and loss reports from last year and then set yourself a goal to beat those numbers!
The holiday season can be a nerve-wracking time for year for a product seller. But a little planning and forethought can make it an extremely successful one, too! If you run a service-based business
Service-based business owners sometimes run into the opposite problem than their product-selling counterparts. Many clients wind down around Thanksgiving and don’t pick up again until after the New Year. Others, who might operate on the calendar year, simply run out of budget to hire service providers.
That’s not to say that seasonal or holiday-based service providers won’t experience a banner winter. Imagine how much a plumber could charge to come out and fix backed up sink for a house full of family on Christmas Eve!
If you do find your business winding down around the fall, though, try these strategies:
Invest in marketing or advertising
Now is the time to start that Twitter account or buy that ad on the website where your target audience hangs out.
Sharpen up your skills
Take a class or learn a new skill to supplement your business for when things pick back up in January.
Follow up with past customers
It’s much easier to keep a customer than find a new one. Let past customers know that you are available.
Beef up your network
Now is the time to catch up with old friends, clients and colleagues, whether over email, coffee or dinner. You’ll have a more flexible schedule and they just might have some work to send your way.
If you consistently see slowdown at a certain time of year, perhaps this is the time to plan for your vacation or sabbatical. Save up throughout the year to cover gaps in cash flow and let loose a little!