Throughout the year most businesses have periods where they are either very quiet or extremely busy. This may be because their trade is seasonal or because of external factors. December is a prime example of where many businesses are expectant that they will receive additional sales. However, additional, sales are not guaranteed to materialise. Often extra work would need to be done to persuade your customer base to spend more money with you than your competitors.
That said, preparing early for December is a must, it's one of the busiest times in the calendar year. Leaving all the preparations until the actual month is not a wise decision. The months leading up to December are quite crucial for the majority of businesses.
December can be classed a month of ‘Feast’ and January, as ‘Famine’, especially if you are engaged in the retail industry. There are, however, some months where finance is rolling in and other months were you can either use the time wisely to have a sale, attend training courses or look for alternative means of income. Take some time to explore what additional services or products that you can offer to your customers that will add value and make them want to continue to do business with you.
Between now and mid-December, individuals will continually be looking for ideas for gifts, value for money and ways to receive their items quickly and easily. As potential new customers are looking for inspiration, you need to ensure they can find you. This is an opportunity to consider raising your visibility on-line and expanding your territory.
Why not spend some time watching what your competitors are doing? Have a clear research strategy; build in a clear advertising campaign count the costs of the planned activities. Starting this process right away would maximise your time and enable you to seize the opportunity of possible new customers.
Ensure the basic systems are in place; that they are up and running. These include your payment systems, your back-end structures that support your on-line sales and your stock levels are sufficient to meet the need of your customers and you have a reliable returns policy and robust system in place.
Spend some time researching and preparing a sales-forecast and cash-flow forecast for the months of November through to March, so that you gain a clear overview of the weeks leading up to, including and after the busy season.
But he warned: "The environment remains uncertain and we face tough comparatives over the key Christmas weeks."