Tools for Tomorrow: Operational Holiday Planning
You already know that summer is the best time to get a jump start on your holiday marketing planning, but what about your operational planning? While it may seem like drafting holiday job descriptions, ordering supplies or other equipment are tasks you can worry about later – taking care of them in advance will free you up to execute on all of your seasonal plans (and maybe even have a little fun)!
Let’s get started!
What supplies do you need for the holidays? Gift bags, tissue, wrapping paper, ribbons, gift card or certificate holders, decorations, salt for the sidewalk outside… the list goes on and on. Make sure to order these items early so you don’t run out until after the New Year!
Take a look at last year’s sales figures to help you plan product flow for the holiday season. As for new products, are there any “must-have” items in your industry? Check out industry publications to see what’s being predicted as sales-drivers in order to be as prepared as possible for the most hectic time of time of the year.
Hours of Operation
What are the right hours of operation that will best serve your customers who are trying to buy what you offer? During the season, you might find that it’s worth it to open up earlier and/or stay open later so that your customers can get what they need. It’s also important to set deadlines for special orders (i.e. gift baskets, certain catered items, personalized or custom-made goods, etc.) so that the expectations for service are clear. Additionally, outline what days you will be closed and make a plan for how you will communicate all of the above to your customer (special holiday newsletter, perhaps?).
Another thing you should be thinking about is hiring seasonal help. Just like with holiday shopping, the early bird usually gets the worm – so start advertising your staffing needs early! This way, you can take your time screening applicants to find the best fit. Additionally, make a plan for how many additional employees you need, what roles you need them to fill, and how you will go about finding them (local colleges or university job boards, online search engines, etc.). A great starting point is to contact your seasonal hires from last year to see if they are interested and or available. Even if they aren’t, they might know someone who is!
What other steps are you taking to prepare for the holiday season?