We know, we know: It seems wild that it’s already time to think about the coming holiday season, especially when you’re a small seller, or you’re just starting out in business. But big businesses are thinking about holiday sales months in advance, and if you run a product-based business or side hustle—from foodstuffs that people might order for holiday parties to great presents like homemade candles—you should be thinking towards November now. Even if you put together events around the holidays or have a focus around something people typically gravitate to as a New Years Resolution (i.e you’re a personal trainer or have a healthy meal delivery service), it’s time to think about holiday business.
Here are a few quick tips for getting ready for the holiday season:
Do a physical inventory
Whether you’re a baker or a candlestick maker, now is the time to start thinking through how many supplies you may need as the holidays approach. Remember to account for the supplies that may be harder to find as the holidays approach and others have the same idea: Packaging materials for easy shipping, that hard-to-find spice or scent, those custom pieces of tissue paper or cards that go in every order—these are things you can think about now so you can stress less later.
This is also a great time to list our your processes if you haven’t before. Lots of smaller makers and side hustlers don’t pause to consider their process. For instance, if you sell cookies and ship them fresh, what does the supply shopping, cookie baking, packaging, and shipping process currently look like? Is there a way to streamline them (like baking on certain days and shipping in bulk)? Prep now, reap the benefits when the orders are pouring in later.
Do an online inventory
This is also a great time to audit your online presence, checking things like your Instagram and Facebook pages and profiles to make sure your images are on-point and appealing to your customers. You may even want to start planning some more holiday-themed content that you can post later. Look through images from last year’s holiday season to get inspired / recycle old content.
This is also the time to check on your Payable Google Form: Is it up to date? Is your header customized and inviting? Do you want to change any pricing or order info ahead of the holidays? If you haven’t had any sales in a while, consider doing a test transaction, just to ensure that everything is working correctly before you open up the floodgates…
Consider opening up pre-orders
Especially for services like catering or baking, or for products that require some lead time to complete, like homemade wooden bowls. You may want to start running pre-orders now, so you can get started on fulfillment and packaging ASAP. (Don’t forget, with some products like tshirts, you can easily make free mockups to make your sales Form more appealing!)
And of course, this is the time to tell your friends and family what you’re doing. In fact, we have a whole blog post about how to better market your products and services without spending a cent on marketing.
Make a calendar
Get organized with your dates so that you can actually enjoy the holidays! Include things like:
- Dates you’ll block off for making, packing, shipping
- Dates you need to order supplies by
- Pre-order open and close dates
- Planned sales (i.e Black Friday, Cyber Tuesday)
- Social media / newsletter plans around holiday content
- The last date you can reasonably ship things out ahead of Christmas in order for them to arrive in time
Take a deep breath… and maybe a long weekend
If you’re one of the makers or small businesses who has a hectic holiday season coming, remember to take some time to relax this month, before things get really wild!