The final few days are near; you’ve been hustling around since Black Friday working to maximize your bottom line before the year is up.
Hopefully some of the ideas we’ve previously suggested have been implemented, but regardless, you’re exhausted as the Christmas Day and the New Year draw even closer.
The good news is that all of this work you’ve been putting in can do a lot more than help you close out this year strongly. With a few small tweaks, you can reap the benefits of your labor through all of 2015 and beyond.
In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to overlook the simple things that you normally do that can help your business prepare to market and run itself once the holidays are over. Here are a few small adjustments that could bring forth big results:
Capture Customer Contact Info
This is most likely something that you do over the course of the year that may fall by the wayside when things get busy during the holidays. If you collect customer emails throughout the year, you probably use that contact list in a number of different ways to help drive repeat business. The reason that it’s vitally important to continue (or begin, if you don’t already) doing this during the holiday season is the uptick in the number of new customers that will visit your store.
Whether they end up buying anything or not, make sure that there are means for them to share their contact information with you. It doesn’t matter if that’s a high-tech solution like an iPad point of sale with integrated email receipts or low-tech options like sheets of paper or contests that require them to leave a business card behind. That information is vital for building a relationship that lasts past the season.
Also, don’t underestimate the impact of sending a thank you note to a customer that stopped by over the holiday season. Using free programs like MailChimp, (which integrates directly with ShopKeep) can help save you time when executing strategies like this, by giving your mass emails a personalized feel.
Pay Attention to Demographics
Most businesses are formed with a certain customer demographic in mind – whether it’s as broad as “anyone and everyone” or as specified as “the local retired folks”.
However, interests, fashion, food tastes, and everything in between will change over time, so it’s important to know who is visiting your store each year when you’re planning for the next. Let’s say you own a boutique targeted at middle-aged adults, but you also carry items that a fashion-forward celebrity may wear. All of a sudden, a younger demographic may start paying you a visit.
If you’re able to notice this and act upon it quickly, then you’ve opened up a whole new set of customers to sell to. Again, anecdotal evidence from employees is good, surveys you’ve run using emails captured at the point of sale will be better.
Invest In Your Business Before the End of the Year
Black Friday got its name because it was traditionally considered the day that businesses moved from the “red” (unprofitable) to the “black” (profitable). Ideally, every sale made following that weekend generates profit for the business. One savvy move that has become increasingly popular is to reinvest in the business right at the end of the current year. The logic here is to capitalize on a good year by putting money back into the business and getting that investment on the books for the current year, to count against end-of-year taxes. Although making investments at the beginning of the year may seem more intuitive, you’re actually working all year to pay it off. So, whether it’s remodeling the interior of your store, using a new marketing tool, or anything else to help your business operationally, making the investment before the end of the year will count against your taxes for the current year, and keep you from worrying about working to pay it off during the following year.
Often times, it isn’t the large, extravagant investments – but rather the small ones that pay off the most. For small business owners, we understand that time is a luxury. It’s our hope that the tips we’ve shared require minimal investment of your time, but will still have a big payoff. Happy holidays!