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6 tips to help your small business prepare for the holiday rush

Two women decorating their business using a garland and ornaments.

For small businesses, the holidays are often the most profitable time of year. People are on the hunt to find special gifts for loved ones, have some extra cash to spend, and foot traffic is at an all time high.

In order to stay ahead of your competition, it’s a good idea to thoroughly plan and prepare in advance. Here are six tips to help maximize revenue during the most wonderful time of the year while maintaining the upper hand. 

Tip #1: stay organized 

For those of you with brick-and-mortar locations, be sure to order extra supplies ahead of time. Check last year’s orders to anticipate how many supplies you’ll need and keep in mind that your suppliers may have ordering deadlines. 

We also recommend that you determine the amount of staff you’ll need and schedule their hours in advance. This way, you won’t have to worry about logistics when you’re swamped with shoppers. 

Tip #2: check on your website

This is a great chance to double-check that your website is up to date and to polish any web content that may need some extra love. You can also optimize your website for heavy holiday traffic by clearly stating which supplies are on sale or out of stock. 

According to Deloitte’s retail holiday sales forecast, overall e-commerce sales will grow by 17 to 22 percent from last year’s holiday season, with online sales accounting for 57 percent of all purchases. In other words, ensuring your website is up and running is in the best interest of you and the future of your business. 

Tip #3: enhance social media efforts

There’s no better time than the holidays to build your digital brand and boost online visibility. It’s never too early to post on Instagram, Facebook, and across your social channels to get people excited for your holiday offers. 

Notify them about your operating hours, logistics, and upcoming events. Also, consider partnering with influencers or hosting a social media contest to drive even more traffic.

Tip #4: spice up your storefront

Adding a little spice to your shop can help set it apart from the crowd during this busy shopping season. Whether you choose to decorate for a specific holiday or you go after that winter wonderland theme, don’t be afraid to get creative when dressing up your storefront. 

To drive additional foot traffic, you can even offer food tastings, live music, raffles, tarot card readings, and other unique, in-person experiences. 

Tip #5: analyze and increase cash flow

Small businesses need to evaluate their cash flow in order to make smart financial decisions. To best prepare for the upcoming holiday rush, dive into last year’s numbers. Understanding your cash flow history will help you figure out how to better prepare for this year’s purchases and sales. 

Also, a great way to increase cash flow during this busy period is to offer early-season deals (why wait to offer deals until the holidays begin?). Offering special deals before the holiday rush will turn merchandise over faster and improve the amount of cash going into your account. 

Another way to maximize cash flow is by pushing gift cards. Gift cards are pre-sales; you get the money into your account long before the actual merchandise is sold. 

Tip #6: troubleshoot and invest in new technology

There’s nothing worse than losing out on potential revenue because your payment processing system is down. To avoid this, it’s wise to check on and troubleshoot all payment processing you have in place. 

You should also confirm that the system you use to pay vendors and suppliers suits all your needs. If you’re not happy with it, consider switching over to a streamlined payment platform that is custom built for small businesses. It can save you time and even money. 

Finish the year strong

From spicing up your storefront to confirming your payment processing systems are in place, your business will benefit from advance planning so you can finish the year strong. The most important thing? Don’t let all the preparation get in the way of your holiday spirit. Lean into the chaos of the holidays and be sure to have a joyful, festive time along the way.

*This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice.
**Melio does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and you should consult with a professional advisor before making any financial decisions.