Like the lethargy that comes with big meals, or the cringe you get from unwrapping yet another pair of socks, holiday returns are an unpleasant part of the holidays that are largely overshadowed by all the good that come along with them. for business owners, dealing with returns is something that is usually only as bad as you allow it to be. If you are unprepared to handle them, or have not explicitly stated a return policy that your customers can adhere to, the ensuing customer service issues that can occur have the potential to pile up to the point of costing you customer loyalty and vital time that you need to manage your business during your busy season. Ensure that your return policy is clearly accessible to your customers. Your return policy is something that your customers should not have to search for, it should be as clear as possible to avoid confusion and the potential for backlash against your business that can occur when

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

The holidays are a time when business owners are often at their most busy, as commerce picks up and many Americans spend the most that they will spend all year. While this trend hasn’t changed for years, the ways that people are shopping for goods and services have been, to the point that this year might very well be the biggest year for E-commerce to date. Last year, holiday spending via desktop e-commerce clocked in at a record $46.5 billion dollars, representing a 10% growth over 2012, with the biggest percentage growth being a 21% increase in the amount spent on Thanksgiving day from 2012 to 2013. Additionally, last year had a few extra challenges that made it less of a number posting year, for one thing because of a smaller number of days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, for another because of the icy polar vortex and reduced discretionary income among many consumers. In the face of these challenges, the growth numbers posted for online

Balance in a small business lifestyle can often go conspicuously missing, especially during the Fall, when the change of seasons and the impending rush of the holiday season means that business owners are very likely to get sucked deeper and deeper into their business priorities to the detriment of their other commitments, both to themselves and to their loved ones. While the idea of balance may come off as slightly conceptual, in reality it is not difficult to identify where it comes into play for business owners and when it is being neglected in favor of a lifestyle that is overly weighted in one direction. Why is balance an important element for small business owners? Balance isn’t only useful in a business context, it is a principle which can help improve anyone’s ability to focus and achieve their goals. When work piles up and a business owner has no choice but to dig in and work longer hours to get it done, they are increasing the

The end of the Summer isn’t even here yet, so why should business owners think about the beginning of the holidays? Because, with the buildup to the largest shopping weeks of the year beginning with the advent of the Fall, the time between then and now isn’t as immense as it might seem and with so much to be done, getting a jump on the business to be won is a powerful strategic move. What do you need to do to prepare for the changing seasons? Marketing campaigns should be based on research, so one thing that business owners should begin to prepare for is directing their marketing spend in a way that can create the best response and sales. Apart from preparing to allocate marketing dollars, business owners will have a list of things that they need to tie up before the end of the Summer. Highlighting and attacking the priorities that they have remaining is another way to make sure that as Fall arrives,

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