Labor Day is approaching, and after you enjoy your fun in the sun, it’s time for the final sprint to close 2021 out big. Many brick-and-mortar business owners earn most of their sales towards the end of the year, so it’s critical to be prepared.
You might be open longer hours than normal, or on more days compared to the rest of the year. Here are a few things to consider as you’re putting together your plan to end 2021 with a bang!
Your team, as you know, is the secret to your success.
We’ve got some specific tips on both front and back of house safety here.
Unfortunately, it seems like we’ll all still need to keep COVID-19 safety precautions on hand again.For retailers, this might look like sanitizing stations, providing a six-foot barrier between your cashiers and your customers (see this article for more details.)
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Many business owners take on seasonal employees over the holidays. If you have part-time employees, consider asking them if they’d like to take additional hours first.
If you do need to add on additional people, make sure that they’re trained before they start representing you and your business to the public. Make sure they have copies of the same policies (such as code of conduct) that your usual staff does. You might need to train them on safety procedures as well.
The end of the year can be a little tricky. Your employees want to spend time with their families and friends, at the same time that you’ll (hopefully) be swamped with customers. You may or may not be able to plan ahead, since holiday travel is often determined at the last minute. It might be a good idea to have some part-time help that could be available in the event that some of your scheduled staff doesn’t make it.
Your staff will greatly appreciate an expression of gratitude from you. If you have the cashflow, you could consider awarding bonuses.
If not (or in addition), a holiday party can be a lot of fun as well. Just make sure that you have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks and that there’s enough food for everyone too. Keep an eye (or have someone take on the responsibility) to ensure that anyone who shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a car gets a ride home.
Depending on where you’re located, you may need to winterize your site to keep everyone safe while customers are shopping. Check your lease to see what maintenance you’re responsible for and what the real estate management company will cover. Don’t forget that the location may extend to the sidewalks and parking lot around it.
Inside, an umbrella stand by the door can prevent water from turning your floor into a dangerous slip ‘n slide. Heavy mats (that people can’t trip over) can soak up some slush and salt when customers enter. Make sure you have plenty of mops and warning signs for wet floors and any other winter issues that you typically encounter.
While you’re probably expecting quite a bit of revenue to come through your stores in the next few months, keep an eye on your profits too. You need to be adequately staffed for shoppers, though you may find due to the coronavirus you have more online shoppers.
Put your marketing budget to good use! Now (before the 4th quarter gets under way) is a good time to plan for more inventory of your seasonal items and any marketing or promotional campaigns that you’re planning, online or off. You may want to provide discounts, change your return/exchange policy to keep customers happy, and so on.
This is also a good time to review your business plan (you will not have time during the holidays!) and catch up on any bookkeeping or tax-related concerns.
Planning now can allow you to focus more on what you can do for an excellent end to 2021.
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