Small Business Saturday is roughly one month away; small businesses should be preparing for the upcoming holiday season. In an annual gold rush for businesses between November 28 and December 24, small businesses have a brief window to increase their profits and their customer bases.
According to a recent Deloitte forecast, shopping and sales during the 2014 holidays is expected to increase by as much as 4.5%, totaling $981–$986 billion. According to the second annual Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey from American Express, in 2013, consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday reported spending $5.7 billion with independent merchants on the day, an increase of 3.6% from a strong $5.5 billion in 2012. Consumer awareness of Small Business Saturday across the U.S. jumped to 71 percent from 67 percent during the same period a year ago. Of those aware, 46% said they shopped on Small Business Saturday.
While many small business owners are stymied by cash flow and difficulty receiving loans from banks, alternative lending is on the rise and there are myriad opportunities that enable owners to hire seasonal staff, take small business loans, and equipment financing, overcoming the barriers to growth.
5 Tips for Small Businesses to Prepare for Holiday Shopping Season
- Hire Additional Staff: Review projected sales for each of the holiday months and plan out whether or not you will need additional staff. While increasing staff year round may not be possible, the higher than usual sales around the holidays can make it a short-term necessity.
- Lease Equipment in the Short Term: Determine what, if any, equipment you will need to accommodate the increase holiday sales. Some businesses need to rent additional cash registers, point of sale systems and mobile credit card readers to cut down on lines.
- Stock Inventory: Understanding your product or service demands during the holiday season is critical. As a small business, the last thing you want is to run out of the season’s hottest gift. Plan strategically when creating a holiday season inventory and stock up as much as possible.
- Increase Advertising & Marketing: Now that you know what you’re selling and who’s selling it, use new funds to create a comprehensive marketing campaign that will draw customers to your store or website. Last year, consumer awareness of Small Business Saturday across the U.S. jumped to 71 percent from 67 percent during the same period a year ago.
- Know your options: While applying for bank loans can be time-intensive and complex, alternative lenders provide easy, quick turnaround for all of the above small business needs– but don’t wait until the last minute. Gilbert advises small business owners to have a plan in place at least one month before Small Business Saturday.
By David Gilbert, CEO of National Funding
As CEO, Gilbert oversees all business operations for San Diego-based National Funding and has steered its path for successful growth over its 15 year history. Founded in 1999, National Funding is one of the country’s leading financial service providers for small and medium-sized businesses, providing working capital loans, equipment financing, merchant cash advances and credit card processing. National Funding has provided more than $1 billion in capital for over 20,000 businesses nationwide. The company believes in American small business owners, and strives to provide fast turnaround, flexible solutions and great service to all of its customers and clients in a diverse range of industries including: automotive, construction, excavation, manufacturing, retail, packaging, printing, restaurant, telecommunications, trucking, and waste management, among others. The company was recognized as a 2013 and 2014 Inc. 500 | 5000 company, as well as one of San Diego’s 2013 and 2014 Fastest Growing Companies. For more information, please visit: http://www.nationalfunding.com.