6 Holiday Survival Strategies for Small Businesses:
How to save time and increase revenue without burning out
Patty Delgado is the founder and CEO of Hija de tu Madre (Hijadetumadre.com) a Latina inspired fashion and accessories brand. She is a self proclaimed ecommerce enthusiast, and is committed to spreading the gospel of WOC entrepreneurship.
Small biz owners, it’s that time!
From one business owner to another, I know how financially significant the holidays are for us. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are all great opportunities for us to increase our sales and make new lifelong customers.
While the holiday shopping season is thrilling, it can also be catastrophic- too dramatic? From angry customers to delayed shipments, anything and everything could go wrong. But no te preocupes! This year, I’m gifting you with my small business holiday survival guide! Here are 6 tips and strategies on maximizing your sales without self combusting.
1. Save time by educating your customers
Being a business owner is great and all, but no one told me my email inbox was going to make me cry Monday through Friday. If responding to emails is also soul crushing for you, here’s a tip: Invest time in educating your customers before they email you.
You can save time, prevent disappointed customers and an influx of emails, by making sure your customers thoroughly understand your cut off dates, production timeline, delivery expectation etc. Educate your customers on your homepage, product page, and confirmation email. Remember, customers don’t want to dig around your FAQ page for answers on their order, they rather contact you directly. So think about the ways in which you can save time and unnecessary customer inquiries by improving your overall customer education.
Here’s a preview of what our email confirmation page looks like:
2. Don’t feel pressured to mark everything on sale
I understand the pressure to keep up with the fast fashion brands and big box stores. But at the end of the day, Hija de tu Madre can’t compete with corporate sales. Our customers come to us, not because we’re cheap, but because of our core values. Discounts and sales aren’t what bring us customers, it’s the message behind our products. We can’t afford to have giant discounts, so we work around our inventory, margins and expenses, to create reasonable promos. Don’t mark down your products so you can fit in with the holiday hype, just be creative about driving traffic to your business. How about creating limited and exclusive holiday products? Or gift sets? Think about how you can leverage holiday shoppers’ needs with what you already have.
This holiday season we’re focused on driving traffic to our showroom, and creating some real FOMO for our first ever warehouse sale.
3. Charge for rush orders
Your time matters! And as much as you want to accommodate your customers’ last minute orders and requests, make sure you’re being compensated accordingly. Don’t be afraid to charge a little more for working twice as fast to meet your customers’ holiday deadlines.
4. Automate, automate, automate!
Take advantage of all the FREE online tools that keep your customers interested and coming back. I’m a big fan of apps that do all the marketing work for me, from scheduling Facebook posts to automated customer thank you emails and abandoned cart notifications. Let the apps free up your time, so you can focus on other tasks.
Here are my fave automation apps:
Kit: Create quick and easy marketing campaigns by texting the Kit bot! https://apps.shopify.com/kit?surface_detail=kit&surface_inter_position=1&surface_intra_position=2&surface_type=search
Mailchimp: Schedule all of your email blasts with Mailchimp. https://mailchimp.com
Marsello: Improve your shopify website’s abandoned cart and conversion rates with this easy to use tool. https://apps.shopify.com/marsello/reviews
Zoho: An easy to use platform for scheduling tweets and posts ahead of time. https://www.zoho.com
5. You’re not Amazon, and that’s okay
If you’re reading this, you’re probably running your business alone, or with a small team.
You’re not just the CEO, you’re the Customer Service Manager, Social Media Strategist, and head of fulfillment. I know firsthand how challenging it is to wear a million hats at your company, and even more so how difficult it is to ask for help. Truth is, there are people around you that want to help your business thrive, and are happy to do you a favor or two. Whether it be your parents, friends, primos, vecinos, just ask! You’re just one person doing the jobs of 10, so learn from my former virgo micromanaging ways, and just ask for help.
Throwback to me working on our signature #virgencitajacket in my home office (aka living room). So much has changed in just one year!
6. It’s not the end of the world
Remember, you get to enjoy the holidays too! You’re allowed to say no to customers, close shop, and take time off. While I’m sure you’re committed to creating a positive customer experience, it’s not the end of the world if they’re not happy. You shouldn’t have to work 24/7 to get the job done, so set your boundaries and stick to them.