Get Organized Before the Holiday Rush by Creating a Business Calendar
While your calendar doesn’t have to be in the shape of a whimsical panda, that choice is up to you. What is important is that you lay out the crucial dates that your business needs to juggle in an easy to read format that can allow you to better stay on top of what needs doing. More importantly, it helps prevent dates from sneaking up on you, especially if you are a person who is prone to distraction or if your business environment is more casual. The holidays are expected to be particularly busy this year, and business owners consequently have even more on their plates than usual. Even if you are person who has managed to get things done without a calendar in the past, consider trying out this simple but effective tool.
First, add major sales days to your calendar. Review your historical data to determine if there are any non-holiday days that are particularly busy for you, then add on established sales days including Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. These are days that you should prepare your team for, briefing them on procedure and customer service standards before the rush makes it difficult to plan.
Add major deadlines for inventory and financing. Forgetting to order something in time can mean that you are stuck with inventory after a sales day has passed, putting your business in an awkward position and choking your natural cash flow. You should be aware of deadlines for ordering inventory, sending out marketing, and if needed, applying for small business financing to support your cash flow. While some may content themselves with adding the dates of major shopping days, by adding dates indicating deadlines for ordering resources, you make it easier for yourself to establish an order of priorities and know how much time you have left to complete each one at a glance.
Add days when you will require temp workers or that you will be short-staffed. Many businesses take on additional staff for the duration of the holidays to help them cope with increased demand, and if you are planning on doing so, you may wish to add dates to your calendar relevant to the hiring process, which can vary from extremely simple to near maddening depending on the level of skill your require in a worker and whether or not you are lucky enough to have appropriate talent respond to your hiring ads the first time you put them out. You may wish to delegate resume screening to a qualified employee and then provide final oversight over a truncated list of candidates in an effort to conserve time. In addition to the concerns that you may have regarding hiring temps, you may also need to account for days that your employees will be taking off from work to visit family and loved ones during the holiday season. Especially if your business plans on remaining open during major holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving, you should seek firm commitments from employees that they will be able to work on those days, and make notations for days that they are planning on taking time off.
Photo Credit to Yoppy on Flickr