The last quarter of the year is a hugely profitable time for lots of business owners. In 2016, UK Christmas spending hit a record of £77.56bn, with 75% of these sales estimated to have been made on the high street (Real Business). In order to achieve their business plans, lots of owners turn to alternative finance to obtain additional funds and last year, businesses raised an average of £20,000 over the Christmas period with Capify. Here’s a list of things which you need to be thinking about in order to have a successful and rewarding festive season, based on what our customers used their money for. The countdown is on!
Stock: Identify your best selling products and services
Although Christmas is still a few months away, past experience says that it comes around much faster than anticipated. At this moment, you might not have much of a clue about what products and services are going to sell well in December, but you can’t sit back and wait for the time to come around before you start taking action.
Do some analysis on what sold well last year, this will help you to make assumptions about what will be successful in 2017. If you had one particular product which flew off the shelves, it’s likely that the same could happen again. You’ll also need to make educated and sensible decisions about how much stock you need to get in, there’s nothing worse than running out of a bestselling item and letting eager customers down. By evaluating your previous year’s sales, you’ll be able to make informed and calculated decisions which will ensure you have the best profitability.
You should also do some separate research into industry predictions. If a person owns a women’s clothing store they should be looking at colours and styles forecast to be popular. Fashion is an ever-changing industry meaning business owners can’t rely on the same products to sell year on year or even month on month. Find out what items and services are expected to be big in your sector and then you’ll be able to work out how you can capitalise on them.
Interested in taking it a step further? You could conduct some of your own market research. Present potential customers with some different ideas that you have and ask for their feedback. If you want honest and reliable opinions, get together some of your most loyal customers and members of staff. Although you know your business inside out, other people’s thoughts can be extremely valuable.
Many of Capify’s customers used their funds to purchase stock in 2016. It’s important to be equipped for a boost in trade and meet the demand of excited customers.
Staff: Get new and existed employees prepared for the festive rush
It isn’t uncommon for businesses to hire additional members of staff during the busy Christmas period. If you’re thinking about doing this, now’s the time to start looking. Advertising for a role, organising interviews and finding a person that fits can all take time.
It’s also important that you don’t leave hiring too late because your new members of staff will need training. If it gets too close to Christmas, then you might find it stressful trying to juggle an increase in customers along with making sure your employees know what they’re doing. By being organised and prepared, you will feel confident that you have time to find the best people to represent your business.
Last year, many of our customers used funds to hire Christmas temps, especially those businesses in the hospitality, retail and production industries. Along with being generally busier, the last quarter of the year is a prime time for people booking winter getaways and wanting to spend time with their family and friends. Christmas temps provide holiday cover which will relieve pressure and stress on both you and your staff.
Advertising: Get Everyone Talking About Your Business
I’m sure you’ll agree, Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier each year. That’s because businesses are eager to get their advertising and marketing campaigns out before their competition. Even though the last quarter of the year is filled with holidays like Halloween and Bonfire night, Christmas is often the most profitable so it’s a no brainier that the majority of business owners make this their main focus.
Advertising campaigns can’t be set up overnight so if you want to launch in time for Christmas it’s time to start planning. Think about what sort of things you want to do, whether that be publishing an advert in a relevant magazine or getting your Christmas menu posted on social media. Not only does it take time to strategise but in order to build momentum your campaigns also need to be running for a while too.
Many marketers believe that a prospect has to be hit 7 times before they will buy into a business and make a purchase.
Marketing is such an important way to help new customers find you, that’s why advertising space often gets taken extremely quickly. If there’s a particular publication you want to post in, now’s the time to make your enquiries. Otherwise your competition will beat you to it and any space that’s left will be much more expensive.
Creating advertising campaigns can sometimes require specific skills and companies usually hire Developers, Graphic Designers and Automation Specialists to help them create powerful materials. If you don’t have a marketing department in your business, it could be worth going to an agency or hiring freelancers. Although there’s lots of places that you can turn to, Christmas is going to be a busy time for these guys as well, so make sure you approach them now before they get booked up. Not only do you need someone who is capable of doing the job, they also need to be able to work well with you, listen to your ideas and understand your industry.
Advertising is something that lots of our customers invest in, especially over the Christmas period. Although it can seem like additional work, it can really propel your business and bring back a huge return.
Lastly, we all know that Christmas is a busy point in the year, especially for those businesses in the hospitality and retail industries. If you start putting your ideas into action now, you’ll have time to plan effectively, catch the eye of customers early and beat your competition. Don’t let the festive season creep up on you, sit down and start strategising before it gets too late.
Raise business finance with Capify
If you’re interested in raising finance for your business, Capify could provide you with £3,500 – £500,000. Once you have been approved, the funds will be in your account within a matter of days which means you can start carrying out any exciting plans you have straight away. If your business accepts credit and debit card payments, our Merchant Cash Advance could be something to consider, you can raise up to 100% of your average monthly takings.
This finance option is the perfect way to raise finance over the Christmas period as the repayments fluctuate each day depending on how much you take. This means that when you’re really busy in the months leading up to Christmas, you’ll pay off slightly more and if trade starts to slow down then you’ll pay us less. Effectively, we only get paid when you do. Call us today on 0800 151 0980 to find out how much money you can raise.