Believe it or not, the holidays are sneaking up on us! As a small business owner, the holiday season is exciting (if not a bit stressful). It's an opportunity to try new things, offer new products, and reach a brand new audience.
Whether you provide products or services, you can take advantage of the change in weather and the warm and fuzzies. Here's how to prepare your small business for the holiday season.
When The Holiday Season Starts
While there's no official "holiday shopping season," you can be sure that your audience is in the holiday mood from Thanksgiving to New Years. That being said, there are always going to be early birds and late adopters.
If you're preparing your small business for the holiday shopping season, I recommend getting the ball rolling in early November and creating a holiday marketing plan that will carry you through January.
Your Audience's Mindset During the Holiday Season
When it comes to holiday shoppers, I've found that we're usually buying for one of three reasons:
We're buying gifts for other people. These are usually products - things we can wrap in shiny paper, stick a bow on, and put under the tree or send in the mail.
We're shopping deals for ourselves. These might be products or services, but they're usually big-ticket items. Personally, I'll hold out on a big purchase for months if I suspect it's going on sale during the holidays. Your audience is probably thinking the same.
We're overspending for emotional reasons. Look, the holidays give me the warm and fuzzies. And when I'm happy, I spend more. Whether we're just chasing that rush of serotonin or we're experiencing FOMO, our emotions play a huge role in our spending habits.
As a small business owner, your job is to make the most of this mindset shift without taking advantage of your customers of clients. Provide what they want, but don't necessarily pressure them into buying things they don't need.
How to Prepare Your Small Business for the Holidays
No matter what you sell - products, services, even coaching - you can take advantage of the holiday season. Here's how!
1. Determine your personal holiday plans.
First and foremost, figure out you're spending your holidays as a human, not as a business owner. I'm a firm believer in building a business that helps you live the life you want. If you want to take tons of time off during the holidays, decide which days you'll be out of the office and put them in your calendar.
In addition to setting boundaries with your time, also set boundaries with your energy. Even if you aren't "on the clock," it's really easy to let work stress seep into your personal life. If you really want to take it easy during the holidays, limit yourself to small launches, create your marketing materials in advance, or outsource work to someone who has more energy available during this time of year.
2. Do some market research.
You can read all the articles about holiday shoppers and do all the background preparation you want, but if you don't understand your audience, your marketing might fall short. Post some Instagram polls, talk to past clients, and get a feel for what your specific audience is looking for during the holidays. For example:
If you're a business coach, your audience is probably in that Q4 mindset. They're thinking about filing their taxes, wrapping up this year, and setting goals for the next year.
If you sell physical products, your audience might be eyeing your online shop for gift ideas. They're probably shopping for deals, stocking stuffers, and unique products for the people they love.
If you work in fitness, your audience will most likely be ready to roll come January 1. They probably won't be feeling a new workout routine during the holidays, but they'll for sure come your way once they set their New Year's resolutions.
Figure out where your audience is mentally and emotionally, and keep that in mind when creating your holiday season marketing.
3. Tweak your messaging.
Thinking back to your audience's mindset, use that information to tweak your brand messaging. Sales is all about meeting your audience where they are, showing them where they want to be, and helping them get there. If your audience is feeling the holiday stress, provide them a way out of it. If they're excited for the new year, empower them to set big goals. Try some new messaging, and see what sticks.
4. Create holiday-specific offers.
Whether or not you run a sale, you can still create and market holiday-specific offers. Here are a few ideas:
Bundle your products. Sell bath bombs and body butter? Create a bundle with two coordinating scents! Pop it in a cute box with a branded sticker and you've got the perfect go-to gift.
Run a deal. If you're confident you'll get sales in the new year, run an early-bird promotion in December. It'll get your audience looking ahead and give you a nice little cash injection for the holidays.
Make your products/services uber giftable. Personally, I want to spend as little time in the post office as I can during the holidays. Offer gift receipts, personalized notes, gift cards, and wrapping to make it easy for your customers to send your goods to their friends.
When in doubt, do some research! Pretty much every business alive adjusts their business model during the holidays. Explore your industry and others for inspiration.
5. Set goals for next year.
Don't wait until January starts to think about the coming year. Instead, set aside time before the holidays roll around to brainstorm next year's goals. If you have a slow holiday season, you can spend your extra time making plans or setting intentions. If you have a busy holiday season, you'll already have your game plan ready when things wind down.
The holidays are coming up quick. It's time to get some clarity in your business finances.
The better you understand your business finances, the better you'll be able to prepare for the holidays (and everything that comes after). Click here to download my free Financial Clarity Guide, your first step towards managing your finances with total confidence.
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