The Business Chat – Time to talk about the Holidays!

It’s bright and sunny outside, the first few trees are starting to turn colour, and today I saw the season’s first pumpkin display! Time to panic people, CHRISTMAS is coming!!! Only 3 more months until the day!!!

As most people don’t leave gift buying until the day before the shopping season will begin in earnest in about 2 months. That means that if you intend to sell this season (and I assume you do as you’re reading a business chat) then you need to start getting ready now. Today I’m posting a checklist for you to help kick your holiday sales season.

  1. Set yourself a holiday sales goal. How much do you think you will sell? Be it 10 items or $10,000 have a set goal to work towards. Post this goal somewhere you can see it everyday.
  2. Craft shows. Do you have any craft shows lined up? While it is late in the season to book into larger shows there are still loads of smaller venues that you can get into. Look for Calls For Entry at your local supply shops, newspapers, schools, or online. Most crafts have forum groups, try asking the members if they know of any shows.
  3. Booth display. If you’re selling at a craft show you’ll need a good display. Is your display lovely? Could it be better? Set it up in your living room and ask some friends to critic it. How’s your signage? And your lighting? Does it stand out and scream “BUY ME!”
  4. Online sales. If you’re selling online you’ll have stiff competition for the holidays so start thinking how to make your shop stand out. Spiffy up your shop with holiday cheer like a holiday banner or offer a special holiday discount. Maybe something like free shipping for the month of November to encourage early shopping? (and because most people will offer it in December).
  5. Packaging. Look at your holiday goal and calculate how much packaging you need to sell that amount. Make sure you have enough in stock.
  6. Marketing materials. Business cards, postcards, flyers whatever you use make sure you have enough to last the season. Most of these items are cheaper online and you’ll save money by using the cheapest and slowest shipping. This takes time.
  7. Return policy. The majority of your sales will be given as gifts. What if it’s the wrong size? Or the recipient isn’t thrilled? Can they exchange it? What is your return policy? If you’re at a craft show print this up and have it by your cash area. If you’re selling online put this in your shop policy section. Always anticipate questions before a customer asks them.
  8. Inventory. Again, look at your holiday goal. If your goal is a dollar amount calculate how many pieces that is. Tip: during the holiday season cheaper items sell more than expensive items. Take the number of pieces you expect to sell and double it, that’s a good amount of inventory to have on hand.
  9. Supplies. From your inventory calculations make sure you have enough supplies on hand. While you may not want to invest in buying all the supplies in advance make sure that your supplier always has the items you need.
  10. TELL PEOPLE. You are putting a lot of work into your venture and you’ve created some fabulous things. Scream it from the rooftops that you are open for business NOW! Announce it on your facebook page with lots of pictures. Blog it. Send out newsletters about your craft shows and your online store. Carry your business card and hand it out when the bank teller comments on your earrings. Wear your jewelry to work and carry extra in your purse to sell at lunchtime. Letting people know you’re ready for the season means they don’t have to think as hard about what to buy. Santa is busy these days, do the elf work.

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