Despite the fact that it is now only the beginning of summer, winter and the holiday season will soon be upon us again. In order to grow your business and capitalize on higher customer traffic, it is important to plan for growth and put in order the basic components of your organization. Call it “spring cleaning“ or simply a “tune-up;“ all businesses need to be prepared to take advantage of increased sales opportunities.
One of the greatest detractors to business growth is the failure to plan adequately and not being prepared for opportunities that avail themselves. These missed opportunities can be mitigated by simply planning ahead, optimizing your business, and “thinking like a customer.“ Have you ever put yourself in the shoes of one of your customers? What would you be delighted to see in your place of business if you were a customer? What would you like and dislike about your organization today? What are your customer’s expectations? After answering these questions, you will be able to make modifications to your business and improve the customer experience.
After making these changes and improving your customer’s experience, begin advertising and promoting your business. Targeted direct mail campaigns and other low cost marketing tactics can generate awareness of your business (see Hospitality News October 2004). Position your business as a destination while also capturing spontaneous traffic. This can be accomplished through advertising in selective magazines, newspapers and flyers, as well as POS and in-store promotions.
The Human Factor
The ability to “right size“ your business rapidly, operate at peak efficiency, and maintain flexibility is an advantage in today’s dynamic business environment. You do not want to hire and fire staff often, but rather you need a strong “first string“ team of employees and a solid “bench“ of personnel who can step in to assist as required. In addition to simply your work force, consider your entire business as a pool of resources that needs to be optimized on a regular basis.
13 Tips to Capture Higher Traffic Holiday Sales
- Conduct a targeted marketing campaign in advance of the holiday season, such as selective print media, flyers or brochures, an in-store event.
- Develop new products and menus, and then advertise them through coupons, sampling or promotions.
- Finalize any website, logo, or branding changes well in advance of the holiday season.
- Ensure you have adequate staff during peak intervals, and back-up staff available due to sickness or otherwise failure of scheduled employees to appear at work
- Update your personnel files and ensure all Human Resources records are in order
- Maintain sufficient inventory of supplies to allow for additional sales
- Increase cash on hand and other resources to purchase more supplies, pay staff, make change. Beef up the cash reserves and financial resources of the business.
- Discuss all financial issues with your banker and accountant, perhaps securing a line of credit in the event you require extra cash quickly.
- Add an extra cleaning crew so that your business always appears clean.
- Discuss with your legal counsel to ensure you have adequate liability insurance coverage in the unfortunate event someone is injured on premises.
- Consider re-arranging the furniture or adding some in order to accommodate more customers.
- Try to make your business more inviting to customers – add music, unique smells, and candles in the evening, or provide live entertainment.
- Contact local and regional clubs, churches and other businesses to attract holiday functions and parties
It is said that Luck occurs when Opportunity meets Preparedness. By following these simple tips and fine-tuning your business, you will begin to enjoy the “Luck“ you deserve.
–Peter M. Guyer
Peter M. Guyer is the Founder and President of ATHENA MARKETING INTERNATIONAL (athenaintl.com), an international marketing, consulting and business development firm serving food and beverage manufacturers. Tel. (206) 749-9255.