16 Aug Small Business Seasonality Preparation: Getting Ready for Back-to-School and the Holidays
The back-to-school buying season is upon us. And before we know it, the holidays will create an even larger short-term influx of customers. Small business owners, especially retailers, depend on these busy seasons to keep them in the black and spur growth. But they need to plan for rising demand through proper business seasonality preparation. The following tactics can help ensure you’re ready when the rush hits.
Set Performance Expectations Ahead of the Season
First and foremost, the right business seasonality preparation begins with budget setting and forecasting. You must have a general idea of expected expenses and earnings during both high and low seasons. Look back at previous years’ performance for comparison and track your cash flow to determine if you are pacing well. Having an idea of performance expectations will help you plan for – and take full advantage of – the back-to-school and holiday rush.
Keep Your Inventory in Check for Business Seasonality Preparation
To best serve the influx of customers entering your retail space during these seasonal surges, it’s crucial to have plenty of inventory in stock. But exactly how much do you need to keep on hand? Business seasonality preparation involves looking at average spending trends and making sure your retail space can keep up with them. Let’s take a look at some expected back-to-school spending trends for 2019.
Families with children in elementary school through high school expect to spend an average of $696.70 while back-to-school shopping, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). At the same time, families with college students plan to spend an average $976.78. These numbers make up the highest-ever recorded spending tracked by the NRF.
Then there’s the holiday season, which is typically the busiest time of year for retailers of all kinds. Whether they’re looking for the hottest video game console, toy, or pair of shoes to give to their loved ones, there’s no doubt consumers will be filtering into your store steadily throughout the months of November and December. Just as you’ll want to keep your shelves stocked for back-to-school, it’s imperative that you keep your inventory in check this holiday season.
Retail inventory financing gives you the working capital you need to accommodate both planned and impulse shoppers during the busiest times of the year. Through retail inventory financing, you are able to take advantage of discounts on large inventory purchases that would be otherwise difficult to pay for. Additionally, retail business inventory financing helps free up your cash flow to meet growing payroll and seasonal hiring needs.
‘Tis the Season for Hiring
Other than inventory, your business seasonality preparation should include a look at your employee numbers. During the busy back-to-school and holiday rushes, you’ll need to make sure you have enough staff in the front- and back-end of your retail space. Plenty of retail business owners hire seasonal workers to keep up with rising sales. While this is often the case during the back-to-school season, it’s especially important to bring on more staff members in the holiday season.
A press release from the NRF reported that U.S. retailers hired 576,800 seasonal workers during Nov. and Dec. 2018. Though this is a significant amount, retail businesses had many openings that did not get filled. There are plenty of reasons for this, such as today’s low unemployment rate. But many retailers are struggling to hire seasonal workers because they aren’t offering enough pay or benefits.
When you’d like to hire more workers for the holiday rush, you should offer perks to seasonal workers. A signing bonus, excellent store discount, and high hourly pay are just a few ways to attract seasonal staff. You can use employee payroll loans to offer candidates competitive earnings and benefits to make sure you have the right staff keeping things in top shape during the busy holiday season.
Secure the Working Capital You Need
One of the best ways you can start preparing for business seasonality is by securing a working capital loan. With access to cash, you can handle the increased pressures put on your business during the most hectic times of the year. Contact QuickBridge to find out more about getting cash for business seasonality preparation. You can be approved for a loan within 24 hours, giving you access to working capital right when you need it!