How To Prepare Your Small Business for the Holiday Season-October E-News

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As the holiday season approaches it is important for small business owners, both retail and e-commerce, to prepare for the busiest and most profitable time of the year.  Because of COVID-19 production halts and logistics issues, Halloween, and Thanksgiving, holiday products are scarce and more expensive than in previous years. The more your business can do to prepare ahead of time, the better prepared you’ll be to make this your most successful holiday season yet. Keep reading for the 3 top things you can do to prepare:

  1. If you need employees, start looking now and pay for talented and passionate team members

Many businesses have already begun the employee search to ramp up their staff for the holiday season. Ascendus client, April Wachtel of Cheeky Cocktails, shared: “It is important not to wait until you are already in the weeds to look for labor. Seek help ahead of the holiday season with people who fit the company culture.” Remember to manage your budget with the extra payroll expenses to avoid payroll eating up profits. Hire employees who are smart, multi-talented, and passionate about your brand. You may need to pay a little more, but they will enjoy the work more and become vital for the busy sales periods of the year.

  1. Prep Your Holiday Inventory

In light of the recent logistic delays, it is important to manage your inventory as soon as possible.  Without the ability to predict the future, it can be hard to gauge in advance which products will be most popular this season. Make sure you watch your inventory closely to see which products are receiving the most attention. With possible production and fulfillment delays, April Wachtel advised “It is OK to have minor changes to your products packaging to fulfill orders. In my case the bottle shape and plastic cap was costing me more and difficult to source. So, I changed it to maintain my profit margin and continue to fulfill orders. No one will remember 5 years down the road that the bottle shape was slightly different, as long as product quality stays the same.”

  1. Financing is Available If You Need It

It’s not uncommon during the end-of-the-year rush to need some extra capital to purchase additional inventory, hire additional employees, run a holiday sales promotion, etc. Microloans from Ascendus can help make sure your business is on track this holiday season. “Access to cash is most important”, says April Wachtel, “Be prepared if a vendor changes the payment terms. In my case they stopped taking credit cards. To avoid late payments, I make sure I have 3 months cash on hand.” Compare holiday season financials (sales, cost of goods sold, operating costs) this season to last season to ensure your business is closing out the year to meet your financial goals.

The Tory Burch Foundation is looking for incredible women entrepreneurs – from any industry – for the 2022 Fellows program. Fellows will receive flexible, virtual workshops, access to a dynamic online founders’ network and a $5,000 education grant. Applications are open now through November 12. Learn more here.

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) is currently accepting applications for child care stabilization grants. Eligible recipients include Day Care providers, School Age Child Care providers, Family Day Care Centers, and Group Family Day Care providers. The deadline to apply for funding is 11/30/2021.

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The New York Public Library’s Thomas Yoseloff Business Center​’s Annual New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition provides Manhattan, Bronx, and Staten Island-based startup entrepreneurs with the opportunity to win seed money. Grant awards include $15,000 for the first place winner and $7,500 for the runner up. Click here for more information and to applyApplications are due by January 31st, 2022.

The pandemic has impacted all our communities, but it has been especially hard on Washington’s smallest businesses and nonprofits. Supported by the Washington State Department of Commerce, the Small Business Flex Fund is designed to help small business owners and nonprofits access funds at a competitive interest rate so they can bounce back stronger than ever.

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Personal Finance Coaching where and when you need it: One-on-one personal finance coaching is available to you through our partnership with TrustPlus, a national nonprofit with three decades of experience supporting clients on paths to financial health.

Visit or text Ascend to (646) 349-5959 to get started. Together with your expert coach you will:

  • Create a personalized plan to strengthen your credit and manage debt to qualify for the best financial products and terms
  • Talk on an ongoing basis with an expert coach via phone, video chat, or text
  • Review your FICO score and credit report

From debt reduction and savings to student loans and budgeting, TrustPlus personal finance coaches are a judgement-free resource to help take your personal finances to the next level.

Sign up today!

0% loans up to $50,000 with only $25 monthly payments for the first 12 months for restaurants dedicated to creating safe and equitable work environments for their employees.  Must be located in CA, FL, GA, DC, IL, LA, MA, MI, NY, OH, PA, TX, or WA.  Learn More

The Southern Opportunity And Resilience (SOAR) Fund provides 4% loans up to $100,000 to small businesses and nonprofits to navigate and rebuild from COVID-19.  Businesses qualify if located in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Learn More

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