Seasonal and holiday shopping can make up a significant portion of a local business’s annual profits. It is therefore essential for profitability to stand out and attract customers. Fortunately, 56% of consumers begin their holiday shopping in October, which means more time for local businesses to build interest and increase sales.
Building a successful business doesn’t happen overnight, but there are proven strategies for building a great team, marketing strategy, and entrepreneurial mindset that will see you through the holidays and beyond.
1. Build a great team (don’t just hire staff)
Hiring seasonal employees is common practice for businesses of all sizes, but without a solid base of skilled core employees, the busy holiday season could quickly become overwhelming. Taking the time to find people who match your values and mission will pay dividends when seasonal employees join you and need to learn about your business quickly.
Tips for hiring and training seasonal staff
- Publish positions as soon as possible
- Be specific about times and dates required and whether roles could transition to full-time employment
- Advertise vacancies on social media to attract candidates who already know and love your brand
- Ask your current employees to recommend you
- Make sure new hires get a full onboarding period to build their knowledge and skills before the holiday rush
Business leader advice
If you’re always looking for the right person, you’re going to miss a lot of people who might be the right person in the future. There are so many people who are neglected in this world. It sort of goes back to [my experience in the] military.
I made so many people what they are today. And that’s what I love here – we take people who might not have had a chance elsewhere, we give them that chance, and we let them blossom into the people they can be. rather than the person they are right now.
Chris Fisher from Farm Ale Brewing Co.Eola, Texas
“Staffing will be your biggest challenge, so prepare yourself mentally for that. Recruiting a team is one thing, retaining it and motivating it permanently is another. Try to remind each staff member of the overall effects of their actions. Even if they don’t see it themselves, every action, every decision they make will have a ripple effect on a small business. »
—Emma Taylor of milk sugar loveJersey City, New Jersey
“For me, it’s our culture. It’s who you hire. We can teach anyone to do anything. But I can’t teach attitude. I can’t teach personality. And when I interview, my first impression of that person is what the guest is going to get from that employee. So it’s important for me to know how I feel in this interview, how the connection was, because that’s how they’re going to connect with the guests.
—Rob Meir of CALAScottsdale, AZ
2. Advertise your value and set your expectations
After the pandemic, many buyers are reduce your holiday budget; however, the enthusiasm for holiday shopping is on the rise. To stand out to the money-conscious consumer, your local business will need to differentiate itself from its competitors and present value.
Tips to stand out during the holidays
- Advertise specific prices so customers can easily see that you have the best deals
- Be transparent about product availability to set expectations for buyers concerned about supply chain issues
- Offer deferred payment options for customers who wish to spread their purchases over several months
- Clearly communicate shipping times and whether customers can expect items to arrive in time for the holidays
- Develop content for your blog and product descriptions that convey value, such as sustainability practices, charitable giving, or quality materials, and why customers should invest in your products
- Provide excellent customer service to build loyalty and encourage retention
A smile and a friendly attitude will take you a long way. Identify and resolve customer issues before they arise. Sense when a customer is unhappy and be the only one to recognize and ask questions about their concerns. You’ll be able to identify and resolve issues early on, and customers will appreciate your proactive approach.
Renee and Chris Thomas from escape thisMadison, Wisconsin
“Communicate as much as you can, as fast as you can, as well as you can.”
—Hal Dunbar from Patriot Pool and SpaAustin
“Make your customers your first priority…ALWAYS. Treat everyone who walks through the door like they’re the best customer you’ve ever had, bar none. Listen to them and remember them. They will almost certainly remember you, so make it a good memory!
—Chad and Krisi Hora from Peg Leg VintageCollege Park, Maryland
3. Think about long-term sustainability
It’s easy to feel like a miniature figure in a snow globe while on vacation. With countless tasks, demands, and responsibilities floating around, it can be difficult to master the chaos of the moment and think about the future. On the bright side, there are several things you can do throughout the year to protect your business and your sanity during the holidays so you can focus on long-term growth.
Tips for Maintaining Sustainable Business Growth
Did you know?
88% of consumers are more likely to look past a negative review if they see that the company has responded to it and adequately addressed the issue.
Business leader advice
Respond to reviews: mandatory. We all put blood, sweat and tears into our small businesses. Not everyone is going to like you. That’s how it is, but when you respond to a review, it’s a wonderful marketing opportunity…because I get to talk about our culture and what we really want to do. We have the chance to invite them again.
Kassie “KC” Guzzardi Joe’s Pasta HouseRio Rancho, New Mexico
“When it comes to success, durability is more important than splash. My advice is to reach out to your small business community partners for resources. »
—Monique Herzig from Alchemy Slow Living StudioFerndale, MI
“Connect with the community in which you plan to do business. Get to know local business owners and attend networking events.
—Tosha Williams of Dessert fantasiesBaltimore
Make the Holidays Bright
Vacations can be rewarding without being so stressful. Set yourself up for year-round success by building a strong team, a support network in your community, and relationships with your customers. By the time of the holidays, you will have already created a system of partners and consumers who are loyal to your brand and who will recommend you to others.
Ready to take your business to the next level? Discover nine strategies to grow your business from seasoned business advisor Shirin Behzadi.
The above information is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace professional advice and may not be appropriate for your situation. Unless otherwise stated, reference to third-party links, services, or products does not constitute endorsement by Yelp.