The holidays may be a few months away, but it’s never too early to start planning. The more advance prep you do to get your business ready for the holidays, the easier it will be to sail through these months hitting all the right bases with lower stress levels.
Here are some tips to get you started.
Plan your marketing and promotions
Before the season officially starts, set aside time to strategize about your holiday marketing. Use data and metrics from last year’s holiday season, as well as current trends, to come up with a plan that will drive the best results. The earlier you start laying out your plan, the more time you’ll have to reach your target audience before the holidays.
At this time, you may want to plan for promotions and giveaways, too. Research popular freebies that align with your industry and company values and price them at various sources to get the biggest bang for your buck. Place your order early to avoid paying top dollar for a rush job and to ensure you have what you need well in advance.
For many businesses, the holiday season is characterized by a general sense of chaos. This can translate into lower productivity levels and compromised service. Avoid this by maximizing the organization level at your business before the holiday madness sets in.
Brainstorm with your team for ways you can improve the organization of your business during super-busy times of year. For example, make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need for the holiday season. If there are multiple projects planned for the coming months, consider using a collaboration app, like Asana or Lionscribe, to ensure everyone is always on the same page. Finally, if you have a storefront, consider rearranging the layout to allow for an easier flow of traffic in popular areas.
Hire and train seasonal workers
If your business typically hires extra workers for the holiday season, get a head start on this year’s hiring. You can start meeting with potential seasonal employees and working out their hours now. Things will only get crazier, and crossing one task off your to-do list and having those extra hands available as soon as you need them will help to keep things calm as the outside flurry begins.
Review vacation policies
It won’t work to have half your team out at the same time, or to have some employees feeling resentful because they weren’t granted their desired time off. Avoid these kinds of issues by reviewing and tweaking your vacation policies now, well in advance of the holidays. Once you’ve come up with a reasonable policy, be sure to share it with your employees with enough time for them to work out their vacation schedules in advance.
Plan ways to boost employee morale
The crunch time leading up to the holidays can be stressful for many people. There are social obligations to attend, lists of gifts to buy and the other preparations to tend to before the holidays. Add the pressure of finishing up the year at work during the busiest season, and you’ve got a recipe for a stressed-out team.
Head off the problem of burnt-out employees in the holiday season by pre-planning ways to boost morale on a group and individual level. Get staff input on how to celebrate the season in ways that go beyond the obligatory office party. Consider supporting a charitable organization by partnering with the charity of your choice throughout the holiday season. Ask your team to help you choose the charity, which will spread good feelings and buy-in all around. You can also make a point of increasing your positive feedback to your employees during the holiday season.
It’s never too early to start preparing for the holidays! Use these tips to get your business ready for the busiest season of the year.
Your Turn: How does your business prepare for and thrive during the holidays? Share your best tips with us in the comments.