Good fortunes await many businesses in the holiday period.
DAVID BROWN highlights the importance of preparation prior to December trading.
It only seems like yesterday you were collapsing exhausted from another frantic December, and yet here we are again on the cusp of the busiest time of year. You probably feel you’ve hardly had time to recover!
There’s an old saying in property investing – “money is made when you buy, not when you sell”. It’s another way of saying that preparation is important to set yourself up for the profit ahead.
As much as you may not want to think about it just yet, this period leading up to the end of the year is the crucial period that will determine just how profitable your December and January trading will be.
To make the most of period I like to focus on a few key areas that your business will need to have in order if you want to ensure this is your most profitable trading period yet.
Inventory is your most significant investment, and it becomes even more critical at this time of year.
Not having the correct product can cost you thousands of dollars in missed sales. Too much of the wrong product will tie up cashflow for much of next year.
I like to start this process by reviewing the best sellers over the past few months. Chances are this product will sell multiple times during the December period.
How quickly can you re-stock? If supply will be an issue, as it is for many things in the current climate, you may want to ensure you have additional stock of these popular items in stock.
This may cost a few thousand dollars in extra product, but the investment will be worth it if it means not missing out on sales.
Additionally, consider the need for extra stock in seasonal or promotional products where demand may be higher than usual.
It may seem early, but it’s a good idea to have your roster planned for the whole month of December as soon as possible.
This isn’t just about giving your staff certainty, it is also about making sure your best staff members are available during your busiest periods, particularly leading into the final few days.
If your store is typical of jewellery retailing, you’ll achieve around 50 per cent of your monthly sales between 20-25
December, and your roster should reflect this accordingly.
Now is also the time to organise staff training before it becomes too busy to do so. Make sure your staff are aware of which products you want to sell, and which items and offers are being promoted to the public.
What will you be doing to attract customers to your store this year? How will you differentiate yourself from the competition?
If your marketing plan isn’t organised by the middle of November, you’re likely to be leaving it too late.
A well-organised and scheduled marketing plan will be crucial to success – so don’t leave it to chance!
It’s the little things in a jewellery store that can make the biggest difference.
Are the lights all working and are the bulbs fresh? Do you have sufficient inventory of your consumables, such as packaging and stationery? There’s nothing worse when you have a store full of customers and you’re forced on a mad hunt for a replacement receipt printer roll!
Remind your staff of sales goals for this season and consider an incentive for them if they reach their target.
It’s a good idea to have a staff meeting to start your December preparation and to make sure you continue the communication during the month as well.
As energy starts to decline, regular motivational pep talks will be critical to ensure you stay on track and that employees don’t become overwhelmed and begin to falter.
You may not want to share specific financial figures with all staff, however letting them know the business is tracking, as a percentage of the goal, can still be a strong catalyst to inspire performance.
Many businesses rely on a strong holiday period to supplement the remainder of the year, and preparation is the key to succeeding when it matters most.
Getting organised today is the most important thing you can do in order to succeed tomorrow.
Taking the time to map out your plan for December and January – addressing inventory needs, staffing structure, and marketing plans – will result in a more satisfying, and ultimately much more profitable, end to your year.