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:
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.