It’s the last two months of the year. You have prepared by building your inventory, advertising your store, and you are ready to make the lion’s share of this year's money. Is it time to sit back and relax? Certainly not, but it is also not the time to panic and let the season get to you.
This time of the year is not only the big money time, but it sets the tone for the upcoming year. How do you get the most out of the season while staying sane and getting ready for the following year?
- Plan ahead – Start planning for the 4th quarter ASAP. Set goals, get your advertising in line, etc. Many brokers start putting plans together, in December, for the following year. Whether you consider this a “budget” or a “goal” it matters not. If you’re smart enough to do this, then I suggest you have a large focus on the following year’s last couple of months.
- Set the tone – Have a meeting the first week of November to discuss Thanksgiving and beyond. Let your team know what is expected and set goals so that everyone can track success.
- Be cool no matter what happens – Many people get stressed because the season is starting slow, they’re falling behind last year’s numbers, etc. There’s only so much that you can do at this point to drive revenue. If you have failed to plan, then you may just fail. Never give up but be realistic with yourself and the team. **Important** Your are the leader in your store. I repeat…the leader. Everyone looks to you for guidance and to steer the ship. No matter the circumstances, stay under control in front of your team. Save the drama for behind the scenes; especially at this time of the year. This is supposed to be a happy time of the year so do your best to make it that.
- Staff correctly – Communicate early that you need all hands on deck at this time of year and that time off is not guaranteed. Overstaff to ensure customer satisfaction and to make certain that no opportunities are missed. Keep them happy! Buy lunch, set up pot luck Saturdays, etc.
- Extend hours – Stay open for what serves your community the best.
- Don’t let December 24th be the stopping point – The days following Christmas are a great time for a good final push. Get creative and find ways to drive business.
- Have an IRS (inventory reduction sale) and create some cashflow (as well as some excitement).
- Advertise that you will buy or trade for those unwanted gifts.
- Give some type of Holiday bonus and/or throw a party for the team. Be sure to leave the current year in good standing and get ready to do it all over again January 1st.