You may currently be peering at this article and wondering if we have lost our minds. It’s nowhere near time for the Christmas rush discussion, is it? We’ve not even had Halloween yet! We’re getting ahead of ourselves, and you won’t be dragged into this nonsense. If this continues, we’ll be talking about Christmas in August!
Well hang on there a second. You know who’s currently thinking about Christmas, even if you’re ignoring it? Your customers. They’re already planning, plotting, buying and going through their intended purchases. The most Type A of them will already be wrapping gifts and patting themselves on the back for their forethought. If they’re ready, then you need to be reading as well.
Most businesses experience heavier usage in the months before Christmas and New Year. For retail businesses, the reason is obvious. For service providers, their customers want to deal with issues before the new year – it’s psychological as much as anything. So you have to be reading for the increased volume. If you can’t handle the below questions with a resounding yes, then you might want to pay a little extra due care and attention.
Can you handle 20% more business than you did in July?
Go back through your accounts and look at how busy you were in July. Then figure an increase of 20%, and stress test your business through the scenario.
Do you have enough staff to cover the extra work?
Now is the time people are looking for temporary seasonal jobs. To ensure you get a good caliber of applications and don’t have to hire in a rush, begin the process now.
If you don’t have staff, do you have time to be busier?
The lead up to Christmas is busy on a personal level, so you’re going to need to be aware of how to time manage. It’s time to do your own personal shopping and make firm plans, so you don’t have to do it while juggling an extra workload.
Is your tech up to date?
Check the basics of technology, as dealing with a crisis in this area will send stress levels through the roof. Check your payment processing system, your North American Bancard connection and your online accounts. Run a health check through your computer and clear off old files, moving things you need to keep to USB. Better to do it now than try and juggle this kind of maintenance in the midst of the busy season.
Do you have enough stock levels?
The 20% estimate for July applies to your stock levels. Make sure you have enough to sell with the higher-than-usual demand levels.
Have you advertised?
Shoppers are an easy target at this time of year, but they have to know about you to be able to use you. One area to focus your advertising budget is social media promotion, which is both effective and catches impulse buyers.
If you answered yes to all, congratulate yourself on being so well prepared. If there’s a “no” in the mix, well, best get a move on before Santa arrives.