The holidays are a magical, maniacal time of year when halls are decked, everything smells like cinnamon, and people trample fellow shoppers for the chance to save $15 on a television. So festive!
As a retailer, the holidays can be especially stressful. Juggling inventory, dealing with set up and breakdown at shows all while handling your own holiday plans is no small feat-but we have a few merry entrepreneurial tricks up our sleeves to help!
Write a plan and stick to it
This sounds so simple, but it is extremely effective. Feeling overwhelmed is completely normal when you’re the formulator, maker, retailer and marketing mastermind behind your empire-not to mention the plethora of hats you wear at home. When you think about all of the places you need to be, and all the things you must do, it can be intimidating, and this is where writing a list comes in.
Either buy a daily planner or just use a notebook-whatever works best for you. Then, write out exactly what you need to accomplish each day, and make note of upcoming deadlines. As you complete each task, check it off-this will help you visualize all of the things you really have accomplished, and will also force you to prioritize your to-do list.
Obviously it’s impossible to plan for every situation, but having those everyday, run-of-the-mill situations handled will make you feel more confident in your control of said-situations.
If you’ve got a lot of shows and a lot of holiday plans, don’t try to do every single thing yourself. Ask a friend or family member for a hand with packaging, shipping or just general tasks. You’d be surprised how willing your friends and family will likely be to help. This isn’t limited to only business ventures; asking someone to bring a dish to a holiday get-together can take just as much stress off of your shoulders!
Be realistic about deadlines
Online shopping is skyrocketing, and most online shoppers are looking for the convenience of shopping from their homes combined with the instant gratification that shopping in a store can bring. While you’ll be able to ship out orders relatively quickly, make sure to stay realistic when it comes to promising delivery; this time of year, FedEx, UPS and USPS advise that shipping delays are possible. Keep an eye on their respective websites for updates about delays and make sure to stay ahead of the game so that you won’t have to worry about upset customers later on.
Common sense, maybe. But when you get really busy and really tired, it’s easy to start getting really negative, too. You are going to encounter a few cranky customers, it’s true-but that happens during any season. During the holidays, people are generally focusing on giving a gift to someone that they care about, and they’ve come to you to help them. Make the most of it and not only will you build a good relationship with the person experiencing your products, but with the gift giver too.
A blissful state of relaxation during the holidays is not what you signed up for as a small business owner, but there isn’t much that is more satisfying than a busy season full of customers, product flying off the shelves and the promise of new and return customers in the years to come.
For more tips on how to take care of yourself, check out “5 Ways to Be a Boss, and Maintain Your Well-Being”.
We also have a great article called “Business Etiguette: The Holiday Edition” that will help you navigate the twists and turns of the season.
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