Prepare your business for the Christmas rush

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Christmas comes but once a year – and for small businesses, it is the most important time of all.

Many retailers in particular need to make a large proportion of their annual revenue in the run up to Christmas. Whatever your sector, here are some tips on making the most of the festive season.

Stock up

If you’re in retail, you should probably already have ordered in your seasonal stock. It may not be too late to call for more, so if you have seen lines flying off the shelves, it makes sense to re -order.

Don’t run the risk of being stuck with too much stock and having to unload it in a clearance sale. Even if you cover your costs, it may not make your business look professional.

An electronic stock control system could help you manage stock levels and prompt you to re-order in time.

They include flexible pricing controls to let you set prices and discounts – ideal if you want to cut prices if you do have to move stock in the last days before Christmas or in the January sales.

Staff up

If your business is seasonal, you might need extra staff to deal with the seasonal rush. Even if your business is digital, and you don’t need people with retail skills, you may need extra people to handle increased packaging and shipping requirements over Christmas? Make sure you get organised before the rush. Students and retirees are often useful, or you may have a list of people who want a little extra in time for the winter break.

Give gifts

If you have large and valued clients, you could cement the relationship with a gift. You can’t be too generous and send them something that might be seen as a bribe, but HMRC classes some gifts, such as a bottle of wine, chocolates, as ‘trivial’ and therefore tax free, and unlikely to be looked on as corruption.

Careful though. Some clients in the public sector cannot accept any gifts – and avoid giving a hamper or a case of wine which might seem excessive, or vouchers, which are taxable.
Put your brand on it.

By branding your gifts, you show a ‘conspicuous advertisement’, which means no tax if the product is worth under £50. A diary for desk or pocket can be useful to your client, and makes sure your name is in front of them every day – but avoid things like fridge magnets, coasters, and pens which can seem worthless clutter.

Run a Christmas promotion

It is the season of goodwill, and giving customers a little extra at this time of year is likely to be remembered all year round. It could be something as simple as a mince pie for personal shoppers, or a free gift wrapping service for purchases of over a specified amount. Small incentives really can influence the buying decision.

Used carefully, these free gifts can be a great business builder. If you run a garage, for example, that free winter safety check can mean extra sales of tyres, brake servicing and more.

Send a card

Finally, send cards at Christmas. Printed cards may work out expensive with printing and postage, but sending electronic cards to your mailing list can be much cheaper – and are an ideal opportunity to send a voucher to use in the new year sales!

Paying for it all

Christmas is a boom time for many businesses, and if you need extra staff, stock or pubicity to make the most of it, you will need to invest. A business loan from ezbob could be the best way to ensure your business has a merry Christmas.

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