Growing your business
Preparing Your Small Business for the Winter Season
It could be said that winter is the most magical time of year, but for a lot of business owners, this is often when they feel the most pressure. This could be down to factors such as seasonality, unpredictable sales and the disruption of the festive holidays. However, with a little careful planning you can make sure that your small business runs smoothly throughout the winter months and avoid any seasonal disasters!
Manage your staff
The festive period can be highly disruptive when it comes to managing your staff and sorting out schedules. The best way to tackle this is by asking for everyone’s availability well before the festive season begins. You should then give your employees a hard deadline for submitting holiday requests so that you can plan ahead and try and accommodate everyone as best as you can.
If you’re planning on hiring temporary or seasonal workers then make sure you start recruiting for these positions earlier on in the year. That way, your staff will be trained up and ready to go when winter arrives.
Communicate with your customers
Your opening hours are likely to change during the winter season. This could be to accomodate for the Christmas holidays, late night shopping events or New Year Eve lock-ins. If this is the case then it’s really important that you communicate this with your customers. After all, there’s nothing worse than customers turning up to your premises to find it is shut or not realising you are open later than usual. To spread the word, put posters up onsite, post on your website and social media channels, and include information on your email communications.
Make sure you’re well stocked
Stocking the correct items and keeping on top of your stock count is key. Start by looking at your Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) data to see which products or services sold well in previous years. From this, you can look for trends or patterns e.g. if you’re a chemist you might discover that a certain brand of cough medicine was particularly popular. Once you have this data, you can order stock that you know historically sold well and also gauge the amount that you need. Ordering well in advance (as early as the summer months) could also work to your advantage as demand is often lower meaning you can get a better deal!
Get your premises ready for winter
Before the winter season fully hits, it’s a good idea to make sure your premises is ready for the months ahead. Make sure that any repairs or maintenance have been carried out to avoid any disruption down the line – after all, the last thing you want is the heating breaking down during your coldest months!
Other things you can do include giving your premises a deep clean and putting any summer furniture or equipment in storage to free up more space.
Plan something special
Winter is a great time to entice your customers with seasonal events. Holidays such as Halloween and Christmas create perfect opportunities to create attractive window displays showcasing some of your best seasonal products. You could also run promotions to coincide with Black Friday and Boxing Day which is a smart way to clear stock that just isn’t shifting.
Another idea is to host an event. Whether it’s a Christmas themed pub quiz or a January sales shopping event, hosting exciting events is an effective way to draw in both existing and new customers!
We know it can be difficult running a seasonal business which is why we offer a Business Cash Advance. Designed to work with your cash flow, you only pay us back when customers pay you! Learn more about our Business Cash Advance here.