In the United States, the Saturday after Thanksgiving is Small Business Saturday, when the nation celebrates and supports its small businesses and all they do for local communities. While shoppers go out and enjoy that special experience that only small businesses can offer, small-business owners will be getting ready for the busy holiday season and the new year.
To help them do just that, here's some advice for business owners.
Ready Your Merchandising and Displays
The holiday season means more traffic to your small business, and it's important to have your merchandise available and displayed in the right way. Since you know customers may be coming into your business looking to buy gifts, for example, consider creating a holiday-themed gift table or display. In addition, chat with your customers about your displays and merchandising efforts — they can often be the best source of revenue-generating advice for business owners. If you sell online, take the time to spruce up your user experience and feature items or services that sell well during the holiday season.
Reduce Staffing Headaches
Keeping your business fully operational during the holidays can be a challenge. You may face increased vacation requests, and inclement weather can only add more complexity. Start by clearly communicating with your employees about how they should be requesting time off and how staff vacations will be allocated (by seniority, scheduling needs or other means). It's important to enforce these time-off policies consistently.
Consider Business Changes
The end of the year is a great time to reflect upon potential changes going forward. Are you having problems with one of your suppliers? It might be time to explore switching to a better one. Need to hire new employees due to expansion? Now's a good time to plan. Are you happy with your payroll provider? Do they have the most up-to-date technology and personalized service to meet your evolving needs? If not, consider a switch.
Examine Your Culture
All companies have a culture, whether they plan for that culture or not. On the same note, it doesn't matter what you say your culture is, it matters what you actually do. So if you haven't written down the cultural goals you aspire to, consider formalizing them. If you've already done so, then audit your culture to see if you're living up to your stated values. You may need more communication or training to achieve the culture you want.
Implement an Employee Referral Program
Hiring may well be the most important thing you can do for your small business. And who knows your company better than your existing employees? New employees referred by existing employees tend to be more loyal and more productive than those you hire "off the street." So encourage and incentivize your existing employees to help you find new staff. In part, this might mean offering paid days off or bonuses for successful referrals, but remember that making sure your employees love their jobs is the best way to get them to spread the word to their networks.
Small Business Saturday is a great time to consider how best to move your business forward during the holidays and beyond.
Stay up-to-date on all the latest trends and insights for small and midsized business owners: Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.
Featured on THRIVE
SIGN UP FOR THE THRIVE NEWSLETTER