Published on December 14th, 2022
December is the busiest time for most small businesses. Black Friday campaigns, lead generation funnels, discounts, accounting, analysis of the past year, strategy for 2023 … it all needs to be handled just at the end of Q4 before the holidays begin.
However, with the right approach and tips in place, your business can make the most of holiday sales and build a steady strategy for the future.
In this article, we will explore 8 tips to prepare your small business for the holidays and kick-start the new (fiscal) year.
Do Your Tax Return On Time
Have you diligently recorded all your business expenses and earnings throughout the year? If you are a busy small business owner, chances are that you barely have time for that. An experienced accountant like the London-based firm Howlader & co. can do this for you so make sure you seek professional help early on (preferably before the holiday season in December).
It’s important to note that if you haven’t already filed for tax return for the year 2021/2022, the deadline is 31st of January 2023. So, be sure to collect your receipts at the earliest to help your accountant do the rest and avoid any last-minute rush.
Analyze Your Performance
It’s always a good idea to analyze your spend and overall performance in the current year before you get into planning for the upcoming year.
Make sure you have all reports related to sales, revenue, expenses, marketing, customer feedback, etc. updated and ready to be analyzed by your accountant. Keeping an eye on the performance of your small business will help you tweak strategies for better results in the future.
Also, make sure you are aligned with your team on this. Everyone should be on the same page about what goals have been accomplished and which need to be improved.
If you have time, consider conducting a short survey with your customers to gauge their experience and satisfaction levels with your product or service. Then, communicate this to your employees either in one-to-one or in a group meeting.
Plan Your Budget
You need to have a clear idea of how much money you are willing to invest in your business before you start spending it. Talk to your accountant about budgeting for the holidays and beyond.
Try to maximize profit margins by taking advantage of discounts or any other offers available during this period. Make sure you keep track of all expenses and income throughout the holiday season so that you can plan accordingly for the future.
Also, if you are planning to set up a new business or expand your existing one, calculate how much money you’ll need to invest and think about the best financing options available to you.
Secure Your Business Data
One of the most important things that often gets overlooked is data security. You should make it a priority to secure your business data before the holidays arrive.
Consider investing in online backups for your company’s data, especially when it comes to customer information. This will make sure your customers feel secure and can trust you with their details.
Additionally, make sure all your software applications are up-to-date so that no malicious activity can breach your systems. Use strong passwords for logging into websites or any other databases and make sure no confidential information is shared over public networks.
Set Realistic Sales Goals
Setting realistic sales goals is essential to ensure that your business can thrive in the future. Working with an accountant or financial advisor can help you break down these goals into achievable numbers.
When it comes to setting sales goals for the holiday season, make sure you don’t set targets that are too high as a result of wanting unrealistic profits.
Instead, set a goal that is attainable and then try to exceed it. This will help you build your customer base and improve profits in the long run.
For example, if you are planning to experiment with a Black Friday marketing campaign and offer your services at a discounted rate, do not just hope for the best! Calculate the expected profits and measure your performance against it so you can stay on track. Check out competitors who have done such initiatives in the past.
Plan Your Advertising
Advertising is one of the most important aspects of preparing for the holidays. You need to make sure that your target audience is aware of your products or services and knows where to find you.
There are many ways to advertise during the holidays, including online, in print, on television, and on the radio. Choose the method or methods that are most likely to reach your target audience and stick to your budget.
Stock Up On Inventory
If you sell physical products, it is important to make sure that you have enough inventory on hand to meet customer demand during the holiday season.
This means ordering products well in advance and keeping an eye on stock levels so that you can reorder as needed. It is also a good idea to offer holiday discounts or promotions to encourage customers to buy more from you.
Hire Seasonal Staff
If you anticipate an increase in customer traffic during the holidays, it may be necessary to hire additional staff members to help meet demand.
Seasonal staff can be a great way to handle the increased business without putting too much strain on your regular employees. When hiring seasonal staff, be sure to carefully screen candidates and train them thoroughly so that they are able to provide excellent customer service.
If you follow these eight tips, you’ll be well on your way to having a prosperous holiday season. Do yourself and your small business a favor by getting organized and prepared early.
From an accountant’s point of view, the holidays can be a stressful time for business owners who are trying to do it all themselves. By being proactive and starting to plan now, you can avoid some of that stress and have a successful end to the year.
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