The Digital Lizard Blog

Running a (Thriving) Business During the Holidays

Submitted by Janice O'Driscoll on December 13, 2016 at 2:25 PM

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The holidays can be difficult. While it’s easy to see why consumers get weary, the demands on businesses are all their own. Companies can struggle with everything from seasonal work overload, to slowdowns, to budget depletion, to employee exhaustion.

Rather than sludge through the holidays for yet another year, try these tips to tackle your unique challenges:

For seasonal overload…
If you’re one of the fortunate companies to be blitzed during the season, you know it’s a mixed blessing. Increases in sales must be met by equal increases in speed and dexterity. Trying to do more with less is a noble thought, but it can mean sacrificing customer service.

First, make sure you have good backups in place. This means computer, power, and database systems, as well as any key equipment. If it’s not economically feasible to have backups on site, forge alliances with trusted vendors. Next, hire temporary workers or contract out non-core operations. Minimize costs by creating your own talent pool, instead of paying a staffing agency. (At Digital Lizard, we hire close to 100 seasonal workers — with 80+% of them returning year after year.) With added resources to meet added demand, you’ll reduce stress and keep your clients happy.

For seasonal underload…
Other companies have the opposite problem. Their prime times are earlier in the year, or their business simply does not fit into the season. Rather than write off the downtime, use it to create opportunity. Run reports on spending, and analyze savings from alternative materials or vendors. Think through environmental efforts, and find ways to improve.

Downtime can also be a great time to ramp up marketing. Apply for industry awards. Engage in philanthropy, and pursue PR for it. Or, craft an unexpected direct mail piece, with savings for future services. Just because you don’t have big revenues during the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t have big impact.

For exhausted budgets…
Another hurdle at year-end is the depletion of budgets. This can mean delays in getting the latest technologies, or simply needed tools to build business. Rather than dismissing these opportunities, be proactive. Get staff primed for your pending adoption, even if it might take a few months. Look for free webinars, have manufacturers out for lunch-and-learn sessions, create your own training, or otherwise keep employees up-to-date. That way, once January hits and your budget renews, you won’t be behind the curve. And don’t be afraid to negotiate, even with the largest suppliers. Revenue targets and year-end sales initiatives can open up some surprising possibilities.

For exhausted employees…
Finally, consider how seasonal fluctuations affect your staff. If your business is physically or time-intensive, the holidays can be even more overwhelming. Keeping employees fresh and positive can be challenging. Bonuses, 401k matches, or profit-sharing are great if you can afford them, but don’t overlook the simpler. Reward hard workers with comp/flex time for extra hours. Recognize achievers in a “Wall of Fame” or with a prime parking spot. Temporarily raise commissions, or provide holiday incentives (such as online shopping or local-event discounts). If you sell direct to consumers, provide one day where your staff can buy your offerings for a crazy price. And don’t underestimate the power of fun. An end-of-year party — or charity event — can bring even the most frazzled team back together.

Check out the Digital Lizard website and blog for more business and marketing tips. Or contact us for help in producing print tools to support your growing organization. Call Digital Lizard today at 866.494.6155 or click below.

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