Business development · 3 December 2019

Preparing your small business for Christmas 2019

tax-free Christmas

Christmas comes around quicker every year, or so it would seem if you looked at the UK high street. Selfridges opened its Christmas shop in July this year, and Liberty London quickly followed suit, debuting its Christmas shop in August. As big retailers push ahead with their plans for the festive period, small businesses too should also be getting prepared for one of the busiest times of the year.

As demand increases, customers cannot be forgotten As footfall to high streets increases with people flocking to the shops to buy presents and get ready for the holiday season, as does the demand for products and services.

This means businesses need to ensure they have enough supplies to meet demand and should plan ahead as early as possible. With this in mind, it’s worth liaising with suppliers to ensure there is enough inventory, especially if there are plans to run promotions during the festive period.

Increase in custom

With the increase in custom, it’s inevitable shops and restaurants will be busier and small business owners can begin to feel the pressure. Despite this, customers will still demand high levels of service. Consequently, it’s worth business owners considering hiring seasonal staff who can work flexibly and ensure there is cover for the increased level of demand.

To get prepared for temporary staff to join, small businesses need to ensure they have the right insurance, payroll processes and contracts at the ready. Whether it’s additional waiters and bar staff in pubs and restaurants or employees to work behind the tills in clothing stores, every pair of hands will help ensure customers are happy during the most wonderful time of the year.

Short term loans

For many businesses, Christmas shapes the entire business year and determines whether they’re going to end up being profitable. So to ensure there is enough cash in the business for this to be capitalised on, businesses can look towards things like getting a short term cash advance loan, to support a healthy cash flow and cover costs.

For businesses in hospitality, it’s also worth taking bookings in advance and offering set menus to customers. This way business can plan ahead and avoid being hit by any nasty surprises.

Resources every SMB should use Utilising the right technologies can be the difference between success and failure at Christmas time. Small business owners should look to adopt technologies that can lift some of the burden placed on them.

As a result, they are able to focus on other tasks, such as delivering high levels of customer service. Take card terminals for instance, these can be hired at short notice allowing businesses to scale quickly during busy periods.

A reliable service

As the features of a card terminal differ, it’s worth small business owners taking the time and researching what card terminal is right for their needs. For instance, mobile terminals have multiple connectivity capabilities and can be a great support to sole traders who operate across different locations.

To ensure a reliable, consistent service, it is worth looking at terminals that can connect to 3G, 4G WiFi and Bluetooth. By having access to multiple forms of connectivity you are much better placed if one has issues establishing a solid connection.

Social media

In addition, social media is also an important platform for reaching audiences and sparking customer interest in the run-up to the festive season. Brands should implement a strategy which showcases everything they have to offer as they gear up for Christmas.

From the clothes and shoes on sale in shops to the drinks and food on offer in restaurants, allowing a customer to visualise what is on offer is a great way to drive awareness and sales.

Christmas is a time for celebration, and the last thing a customer wants is to be faced with long queues, out of stock items and low levels of customer service. Ultimately just as much as customers, business owners want to be able to enjoy trading over Christmas too. It is therefore worth getting ahead of the game use the time now to prepare, get ahead of the game not rest on your laurels.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Steven Stewart joined Valitor in 2018, bringing to the role a depth of experience in providing small businesses in the UK with exceptional payment services. As Director, SMB Solutions, Steven is focused on helping small businesses simplify their customer transactions by providing an affordable one-stop-shop for every point on the payment journey.

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