Early business planning for the Christmas season

It will soon be THAT time of the year again when nearly everyone will be scuttling around trying to buy last minute presents for their significant others.

Actually, if talk on the “country’s most popular meeting place for parents” is anything to go by, if you’re not thoroughly sorted yet, you’re clearly not ‘with it’.

Other parenting sites advocate getting ready with lists and recipes by at least early November, and according to the Telegraph, 1 in 10 people start planning for Christmas in September.

But of course, as all Journalists and members of the press know, Christmas really starts in July.

All a bit daft? Possibly!

One thing is for sure, when you work for yourself, you will need to plan ahead for your business. Christmas can be a very busy time of the year for some businesses – especially if you have an ecommerce or personal gift site. If you want everyone buying from your site, then the sooner you plan ahead for the run up, the better.

 

Planning Ahead

Elaine Everest gave some brilliant tips here a while ago on planning ahead if you’re a working mum – make a list… or four!

Otherwise, everywhere else, brands are already sorting their marketing strategy for the Christmas season to make sure they stand out from the crowd. There’s no reason why you as a micro-business or Freelancer should be any different.

Here are my top 3 tips of things you can be doing now to prepare for the Christmas season.

  1. Start an early dialogue:  Start talking to your customers or clients now. Service Providers,get a clear idea as to what your clients are working on/what projects are on the go, so that you can manage your workload accordingly. Both you and client will naturally plan to take time off over the Christmas and New Year period, so make sure you’ve left yourself enough time to complete their project(s).Similarly, Product Suppliers, now’s the time to start thinking about your marketing strategy and how you’ll engage with your customers. Christmas is a busy time of the year when everyone is inundated with “BUY THIS REALLY, REALLY, SPECIAL OFFER. NOW!” You don’t want to wait until then and simply hope that your message is seen amongst the crowd. Which leads me nicely on to,
  2. How will you stand out from the crowd: It’s a popular time of year to run a competition and for good reason, competitions work well. But can you do something different to stand out from the crowd? Wouldn’t that be something?
  3. How can you make life simpler?: It can be a stressful time of the year, despite it being ‘the season of good cheer’. What can you do to make your clients or customers’ lives easier? If you have an ecommerce site, how can you make that shopping experience a seamless and even joyous one? Free postage and packaging if you don’t already offer it? Free gift wrapping perhaps? Or as a Freelancer, what additional services can you bundle together as a special gift? It is often the seemingly little things that have people coming back for more.

 

These are all probably nothing you haven’t heard before, but they’re great reminders anyway. What tips would you share for planning ahead for the Christmas period?

 

Author:

I’m Mary Cummings, a ghostwriter, collaborator and all round word doctor. I help business owners write and publish business books; I'm also passionate about helping creative freelancers find work that they love - their work sweet spot with work on their terms, projects they love and clients who are a dream to work for.

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