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Your holiday business rush survival guide

business man in suit sitting on a life preserver in pool of numbers

The holidays can be hectic for business owners... unless you have an appropriate holiday strategy. Now is the time to start preparing so you can make the most of the holiday season in sales while not losing your sanity. Use the following tips to help you plan ahead:

1. Meet with your team 
Getting staff input is an important first step to head off any unexpected hiccups over the holiday period. Conduct a debrief of last year’s holiday season and ask what could be done differently or better. Make sure to discuss holiday schedules as necessary. This could mean planning for additional staff if needed or reducing schedules if you are slow during the holidays.

2. Get organized 
It pretty much goes without saying that a key to handling your busy time is to stay organized. Brainstorm what you can do ahead of time to make sure everything is in order. If you have a physical location, this may mean making sure it is clean and holiday ready. Now is the time to order any additional sup- plies needed and to put a marketing plan in place.

3. Make a holiday schedule 
After meeting with staff and determining personnel needs, vacation hours and/or closures, create a schedule and circulate it early. By preparing the schedule now, you won’t have to worry about it later when you’re swamped with clients and orders.

4. Review policies 
Reviewing current policies is important to coun- teract any holiday season-related hiccups. Take the feedback received from staff and use it to update policies if needed. This will help deliver impeccable service during the busy holiday season. Also, don’t forget to review all of your policies concerning returns and shipping.

5. Create a marketing strategy 
Think through your holiday sales objectives and map out marketing strategies to help you accomplish them. Think about what you can do differently to attract holiday shoppers and clients to your business. Don’t forget to show existing customers your appreciation as well...while putting your business front of mind with them.

6. Practice website preparedness  
If your business includes online sales, now is the perfect time to perform any necessary upgrades to your website—especially any payment processing apps or portals. Make it your mission to have your website running smoothly and able to handle new customers in addition to existing clientele. Also, be sure that your website is ready to accommodate all potential customers who may visit—in terms of speed, bandwidth and information accuracy.

Once ready, put your plans and policies into action! You may also want to think about how you can keep your staff motivated during the holiday season with thoughtful treats or a drawing for prizes. Most of all, don’t forget to reward yourself after the busy season with a little R & R.

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