Preparing Your Small Retail Business For The Holidays

Years ago I owned two small retail businesses. I was very young and had little retail sales experience. I wish I had someone who could have spoke into me at the time who could have helped me be much more prepared than I was for the holiday season. We weren’t staffed properly, we didn’t have enough inventory – and so much more. Each year at this time I always think about those times and reflect about what I “could” have done.

Don’t get caught thinking what you should have done, but instead take action now. Here’s how to make the most of the season:

 

Prepare for the rush

For many retailers, November and December offer their busiest period. Make sure you are prepared for a potential flurry of extra shoppers by training staff members on how to manage the rush. Emphasizing exceptional customer service can make a big difference to stressed-out holiday shoppers. If you don’t think your current staff will be enough, consider taking on temporary help.

Ecommerce retailers should make sure their websites are in tip-top shape, with user-friendly features, clearly explained purchase policies and any special promotions featured prominently.

Promote the holiday spirit

This can be as easy as applying a seasonal theme to your website or putting up decorations in your bricks-and-mortar store. It can also involve giving away free candy canes with every purchase or arranging for staff to wear Santa hats. Encouraging a holiday spirit will help nudge people into opening their pocketbooks, boosting the numbers recorded by your accounting software.

Adjust your marketing approach

Get people ready for the holiday season – and let them know you’re ready – through marketing. This could involve taking out ads in the local newspaper or utilizing special holiday circulars or flyers.

If you have a budget for SEO marketing, begin thinking about how consumers’ search terms may change over the holiday season and adjust your efforts accordingly for higher conversions. If you send out an email newsletter to customers, endow them with a gift-giving theme, such as “top 10 presents for dad.” Include customer testimonials for maximum effect.

Remind people of your business by distributing holiday-themed promotional items featuring your name and logo, such as a calendar for the coming year or an inexpensive Christmas tree ornament.

 

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6 Steps To Improve Productivity In Your Business

We’re all looking for ways to be more productive. A lack of productivity can put a drain on your emotions, and more importantly your bank account. Making poor decisions, wasting time, and a lot more can contribute to a lack luster productive business. In the article below, you can learn six simple steps in being more productive at your business. It doesn’t take much – see below for yourself.

 

I’m frequently asked about productivity. My clients are often desperate to be more self-disciplined, less “lazy” (their word, not mine), and want to know how to get more work done in less time. As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you wear so many hats and have so many things to do, it often seems overwhelming. As a result, some just give up, while other work non-stop, perpetually feeling like they’re drowning. Today, I’m offering several strategies that you can easily implement so that you can stop feeling lazy, start getting more accomplished, and, as a result, increase your income.

1. Step away from judgment.

Something I see frequently is that when people finish the day and haven’t accomplished as much as they’d hoped to or planned to, they end up judging themselves. “I’m so lazy!” “How can I be so inefficient?” are common thoughts and statements. Often, we are our own harshest critics, and this kind of thought process can lead to some substantial, mindset-related roadblocks to your success. In fact, judging yourself harshly can impact your confidence and self esteem, which are factors that heavily influence the likelihood that you will succeed in your business. So the first thing I recommend is to stop judging yourself so harshly and give yourself a break.

2. Make a decision.

There’s one decision that is more important than any other. It’s the decision that you are going to make your business work, no matter what. That means you make the decision to put in whatever effort is required to make your business a success. This decision is paramount to taking your business to the next level. Make this decision once and you’ll start thinking differently about your time. Each decision will flow from this one moment. As a result, you’ll start to notice that you handle your time differently and are more productive.

Now let’s get into some “nitty gritty” solutions that are less mindset-oriented and more practical:

3. Examine the current state of affairs.

It’s crucial that you know where you currently stand. Keep a time journal for one week and see where the bulk of your time goes. Track everything you do and how long it takes, and include the time spent checking e-mail, surfing the internet, and watching TV. At the end of the week, examine the current state of affairs. What are you spending the most time on?

Next, ask yourself what things are you spending time on that you don’t need to spend time on, or that you can eliminate? And what things can you do more of? Note that the things you do more of should be income-generating, and you should try to do less of the things that don’t bring in money.

 

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Are You De-Motivating Your Employees?

Are you dealing with a motivation issue?

Studies show that supervisors or managers have the greatest impact on the employee.  With that fact, a good place for you to start increasing your employee’s performance is to first review how you may be demotivating your team members.

Ways to de-motivate employees

  • De-motivation occurs when an employee feels the manager doesn’t appreciate them
  • Too much work for any one person to do
  • Not enough direction from the manager and this lack of clarity decreases their ability to perform
  • Unfair practices – a manager that favors one employee over others
  • Disrespectful comments to employees, especially when spoken with others around
  • Constant micromanaging which indicates that the manager doesn’t trust the employee
  • Not communicating important work related information to the employees
  • Underpaying your employees
  • ….and the list goes on.

Final Thoughts

The manager isn’t the only part of the equation of a happy employee, but they are significant in the employee’s productivity levels.   If an employee feels respected by their manager, they tend to form positive relationships with co-workers.

Take the time to review your beliefs and behavior towards your employees.   Managing employees takes time and effort and if you are willing to observe yourself and change your de-motivating behaviors, you will see a noticeable change in the productivity of your team members.

 

source: motivatingemployees.net

Surviving A Slow Economy – With Synergy

Many business owners are trying to do everything they can possibly think of to survive today’s slow economy. People will ask me what’s the best way to stay in business, despite a lack of consumer spending. While that answer is certainly in the “eye of the beholder”, one significant way to fight this economy is through synergy!

Networking with other like minded entrepreneurs can lead to more business and better business opportunities. Just by discussing your small business with other small-business owners can create new revenue streams. Synergy can develop in these networking opportunities, but you have to be proactive. Unless you put your small business out there and appear willing to collaborate with fellow business owners, you cannot expect to see increased revenues.

Get out there and make connections. Don’t make excuses about time – those who complain about not time will be the ones who won’t make it. Meet new people, discuss the issues and plan together. It’s amazing what cam happen when your open to here the voice of others.