As we reach the midpoint of October, the holiday quarter is already amongst us, and small business owners should be fully aware that there is only 10 weeks until the end of the 2022. If they are organised, preparations will already be in full throttle planning for what is counted as the busiest quarter of the year.
This begins in November with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and then finally the main event in December, carrying through until the new year. An 8-week period which has tremendous potential for businesses big and small and in a time of financial uncertainty could make the difference between profitability and possible demise in 2023.
While this period is often construed as a retail holiday, this is essentially the first step to failure. It’s this attitude that will path the way for competitors to swoop in stealing larger portions of the market at a time which should be viewed as prosperity for all. It’s a game of creativity, who can come up with the most inventive and unique campaigns to showcase products and services while essentially outsmarting the competition.
Big brands generally start to plan for this quarter in July. This may seem early but with an abundance of staff they can divert employees to work solely on projects relating to the festive period. Unfortunately, not all small businesses have this capability meaning the process requires vision, planning and time to get ahead.
The best piece of advice is to prepare your marketing strategy as early as possible so that you aren’t working to tight deadlines. Creativity takes effort, and with much to prepare including strategizing, developing mood boards, designing content, writing punchy text, meeting printing schedules and giving SEO time to take effect. So, if you are yet to start, don’t wait any longer and instead decide which products and services will take centre stage of promotional campaigns. And instead of leaving it to the last minute see this as a priority to what could be an advantageous marketing opportunity.
Top tip: follow in the footsteps of big brands by creating seasonal video content
With teams disbursed throughout the nation due to the growing trend of remote and hybrid working now might serve as a good time to arrange a face-to-face meeting rather than relying on video conferencing. Use it as an opportunity to bring together teams to collaborate, present plans, discuss vacation time and provide reassurance of how their work will be structured for the next quarter. For businesses with experience of managing a team through this busy period should ultimately look back to see what can be learnt from 2021 and apply this to any new process.
Top tip: leave enough time to source additional staff to cover if needed
One of the busiest departments is sure to be customer services. This operational area will need additional preparation to ensure they are ready for the onslaught of sales calls and complaints. Regardless of how well trained your staff may be not all customers will be happy with the service they receive and during a frantic time they will still expect a quick response. It’s worth bearing in mind that as sales begins to rise and the phone starts ringing off the hook a trusted brand can easily be destroyed with a poor functioning customer services team.
Top tip: don’t just plan, train and retrain some more
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas are all very exciting times for small businesses. They provide the opportunity for sales, brand growth and to build beneficial relationships which can be further developed in the coming year.
Use this time to differentiate your brand with a thoughtful, unique, and creative marketing strategy, ensuring your teams are given ample time to prepare and customer services are fully trained for the upcoming busy period.
The only thing standing in the way is a lack of preparation, so the sooner you begin the better prepared you will be.