How to Prepare Your Small Business for a Busy Period
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How to Prepare Your Small Business for a Busy Period

For some it’s Christmas, for others it’s Valentine’s Day, or the school summer holidays; busy periods depend on what you sell or trade in, and can last anything from a few days to several weeks.

Busy, seasonal periods will always vary slightly, so it’s important to be several steps ahead. Here’s how to get ready and stay ready.

Refurbishment and renovation

Renovation and refurbishment can create more space for storing stock and serving customers, as well as creating a more memorable, atmospheric environment.

If you’re planning a big project, it’s important to give yourself plenty of time before your annual busy period. This gives you and your staff room to get used to the new surroundings and make the most of them. It’s no bad thing if the paint still smells fresh, but scaffolding and dust sheets won’t go down well with customers.

Learn from previous years

Did you end up rushing to get ready for Mother’s Day last year? Were you short staffed during December? Look at previous years’ figures, including how many staff you hired, what stock you purchased, when you bought it, and how your profits varied.

If you use a smart software which can track all this for you, you’ll know fairly quickly whether you under-prepared, over-prepared, or got it fairly spot on. This can inform how you get ready for the coming months.

Stock

Non-perishables and perishables are purchased on very different timescales, so there aren’t many hard and fast rules. Use a schedule which has worked in the past, and make tweaks and improvements when you need to. If you’ve expanded, you’ll have more space to store inventory. If you haven’t, you might need to buy more cleverly.

Staff

If your memories of last Christmas are of complete exhaustion, hiring staff is a good option. If you have a regular team you work with all year round, ask them if they need more help or if they feel they can manage. If you have big ambitions for your next busy period, temps can help you achieve those goals and serve as many people as possible.

Make your busy period even busier

As a business owner, you’ll know it’s unwise to take things for granted. Previous years’ stats can tell you what did and didn’t work, but there’s always room for improvement.

Improving on last year’s stats is a year-round process. The work you put in to marketing and standing out from competition will serve you well when it comes to attracting customers during your busy periods.

  • Encourage return customers with loyalty schemes. Offering discounts and perks for regular customers will make them more likely to keep coming back, particularly during your busier periods.
  • Capitalise on your best marketing channel. Invest in the channel or channels which are most likely to provide results, whether it’s flyering, Facebook ads, or advertising in a local paper or magazine.
  • Distinguish yourself from competitors. This could mean offering something new in your local area, becoming a ‘destination’ for a particular service, or beating competitors’ prices.

The Merchant Cash Advance is perfect for businesses that accept credit and debit card payments. Raise upwards of £3,500 to pay for essential preparation, from extra staff to specialist stock.

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