Happy holidays, business owners! This glad season offers many of opportunities to boost sales and build customer relationships. I know it’s already November, but there’s still time to add a smart strategy or two to your holiday play book. So, let’s get rockin’, Rudolph!
4 ways to add sparkle to your 2012 cash flow.
1.Consider a pre-season sale. Or offer discounts on higher-ticket products or services when paid in full by [fill in a December date].
2.Promote your gift cards. These sales put cash into your account now, before the lucky recipient buys later on.
3.Accept and encourage the use of credit cards. Payments typically hit your account the day after processing. Mobile card readers make it easy for any small business to accept credit card business.
4.Reduce costs by forecasting holiday product needs carefully and eliminating any unnecessary spending. And choose vendors not only for their competitive prices, but for fast turnaround times, good payment terms, reliability, and the ability to pay with credit cards as well.
6 ways to extend the joy into 2013.
1.Be aware of what retailers call the 5th Quarter—the weeks between Christmas and just after the New Year when shoppers have a little extra cash in hand and a few days off to spend it. Even if you’re not in retail, there may be ways to leverage of this lucrative time period.
2.Package holiday products or services into “subscriptions” to keep customers coming back in the New Year. (Think “Seafood-of-the-Month Club,” weekly consulting calls … you get the point.)
3.Start a loyalty reward program now that segues customers into January and beyond. Lots of folks are happy to buy five to get one free. Be creative with your offer to build a little buzz.
4.Have alternatives ready should you get returns. Can’t make a swap? Be gracious. Great customer service today means loyal customers tomorrow.
5.Build your email and mailing list. Capture holiday visitors via opt-in pages on- and offline. These are the customers you can reach out to again and again with news, sales and special offers.
6.Commit to customer conversation. Encourage and respond to comments and you’ll learn what’s important to your fans and continue to be their fave.
A bazillion more ways to build holiday cheer for your business.
Want more? Those very merry folks at Visa have teamed up with USA Today columnist and best-selling author Rhonda Abrams to create a festive guide to the holidays just for small-business owners like us. In it you’ll find all sorts of tips, tools, and fascinating facts to help you make the most of the holidays: www.visa.com/holidaysuccess.
Joe wants to know.
How will your business be taking advantage of this holiday season?