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Published October 24, 2022
A weekly look at issues facing Wyoming business owners and entrepreneurs from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Audie Cunningham, regional director (Fremont and Teton counties), Wyoming SBDC Network
If you’re anything like me, the holidays often sneak up on you. If you are a busy entrepreneur, this may be particularly true for you, too. No matter what time of year you’re reading this post, there’s probably something you can be doing to prepare your retail business for the holidays.
A Salesforce report that came out in June reported that 42 percent of customers worldwide and 37 percent of U.S. shoppers are planning to shop earlier due to inflation. Preparing for the season early also decreases the likelihood that you’ll spend the week before Thanksgiving working long and stressful days trying to prepare for the busy season at the last minute.
Have you experienced any of these common holiday retail scenarios?
-- Not having enough inventory on hand and losing out on sales.
-- Finally getting around to ordering holiday inventory, only to find that the items you want are back-ordered or out of stock.
-- Deciding to host a holiday event at the last minute and the only people who attend are your mom and your sister-in-law.
-- Failing to recognize the communitywide marketing efforts -- such as “Shop Small” campaigns or chamber of commerce newsletters -- from which you could have benefited.
-- Lastly, and most important, holiday burnout.
Now, how can you avoid these common scenarios? The answer is simple but can be challenging. Some simple steps to help you plan ahead include:
-- Block out time to work on your holiday preparations. Set aside a morning to brainstorm, research, strategize and look at upcoming holiday trends in your industry.
-- Examine your sales and inventory from last year’s holiday season.
-- Look at what your local chamber of commerce or Main Street association is doing. Are there any marketing campaigns or events in which you can take part?
-- Create a holiday prep calendar.
-- Create a holiday marketing plan and budget.
-- Involve your team in the planning and delegation of duties.
-- Don’t forget to do an evaluation of your holiday season at the conclusion of the year. Note any successful marketing tactics, areas to improve upon, sales numbers, issues, complaints, comments or anything else you want to remember for the next holiday season.
For many retailers, this is a lot of extra work on top of an already long list of tasks. But, the more you plan and prepare, the easier it will be each year as you build upon your successes. By planning ahead, you can strategize ways for you and your staff to avoid holiday burnout. This is essential to a successful holiday sales season.
If you are ready to start planning, a Wyoming SBDC Network adviser can help you get started and keep you accountable for your schedule, plans and goals. An adviser can assist you with creating an advertising plan, honing your social media tactics and budgeting for the holiday season.
The Wyoming SBDC Network offers no-cost advising and technical assistance to help Wyoming entrepreneurs think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their business. In 2021, the Wyoming SBDC Network helped Wyoming entrepreneurs start 80 new businesses; support 4,077 jobs; and bring a capital impact of $9.2 million to the state. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by UW with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council and funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write Dept. 3922, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071-3922.