1). Know your supply chains
SMEs are currently facing complex supply chain challenges, with numerous shipping delays and stock shortages.
Therefore, it’s important that businesses act early and ensure they aren’t left waiting for important goods.
In other words, do not play the waiting game.
With shipping prices also surging, look to create a supply chain strategy that better optimises container space to ship more items per square foot.
When it comes to preparing for Christmas and beyond, it’s also vital that you plan for every scenario.
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday, customer demand has increased before December.
Can your business meet this demand? Will your supply chain costs impact your ability to remain competitive during the festive period?
Furthermore, existing skills shortages, Brexit-related issues and Covid-19 measures could also cause unexpected and unwelcome delays.
Look to create different models to ensure you can satisfy these spikes in demand and any costly out-of-stock scenarios are avoided.
2). Ensure you are digitally ready
Overall, it is looking like it could be a positive Christmas for small businesses.
58 percent of the latter in the UK are expecting their best ever festive period.
Meanwhile, 71 percent are confident they will have a strong Christmas with or without any Covid restrictions.
Why so positive?
This is due to the acceleration of digital services, put in place due to the numerous lockdowns we have faced over the past 18 months.
According to research from connectivity provider TalkTalk Business, the digitisation of businesses during the pandemic has enabled them to achieve a profitable finish to 2021.
81 percent of SMEs invested in their digital and online services during the pandemic. 56 percent of them stated they wished they’d made such changes and innovations much sooner.
With more and more customers starting their Christmas shopping early via online services, it’s important that your business moves with the times and is ready for a more digitised 2022.
Our Enterprise for Success workshops, returning in January, will help you prioritise your business’ vision and values, and develop an efficient marketing strategy.
3). Be careful with your cashflow
Businesses across the UK are preparing for Christmas to be a busy and prosperous one.
Current figures show that the turnover of UK SMEs has surged above pre-pandemic levels, despite widespread shortages.
While there is usually a seasonal increase, this boost has occurred much earlier than normal.
However, despite this, it is important that you do not get carried away.
Covid-19 repayments are now due. Many small businesses will be, in a way, left on their own to sort their financial situations. The absence of furlough support only adds to the challenge.
It’s important to ensure you keep on track of your cashflow situation beyond the festive period, too, especially if you – like many other small businesses – hope to have a successful 2022.
Having a healthy cashflow for your SME can be difficult to maintain, but there are a number of ways you can alleviate your concerns. These include:
- Set a monthly budget for your business and carry out an audit just before Christmas to ensure you can take any necessary action before such a busy period.
- According to the Federation of Small Businesses, late payments during Christmas have caused around 50,000 businesses to fail. Set clear deadlines, chase invoices and have honest discussions with partners.
- Think about January. The New Year can often be lean, so ensure you’re only spending money on the right things in the run up to Christmas.
4). Have a personal approach
Building customer loyalty should be an essential part of your seasonal strategy.
Thus, Christmas for small businesses means having a more personal touch.
You won’t be able to compete with big businesses in terms of budget, but you have the chance to offer something that truly promotes your brand’s identity, style and ethos.
People are far more receptive during the Christmas period. Thus, they are more likely to pay attention to your promotional material.
Assess what your competitors are doing and see how you could create something eye-catching, memorable and affordable that speaks to your customer base.
A Christmas giveaway – depending on if you have the stock or not – could be an easy but effective way to generate mass interest to your business.
Additionally, create some hand-written Christmas cards to accompany any deliveries or purchases.
If you have indeed embraced the e-commerce side of things, you could create an effective ecard.
Sustainability is a current core focus among many SMEs presently, so crafting something on recycled paper could demonstrate your commitment to the environment and say a lot about your business’ commitments.
Looking for some support – whether it be for Christmas or for 2022? Our Business Analysis service and diagnostic tool could help. Please click the button below to discover more.