Retailers may rake it in over the holidays, but for many businesses, December actually brings a lull. If you fall into that category, there’s no reason for operations to grind to a halt. There are a number of important projects you can undertake to keep your business moving forward during the holidays. After all, if you have staff on payroll, you want to keep them as productive as possible. Here are six ideas.
1. Take a holistic look at your business
Perhaps the most helpful thing you can do in December is to ask team members to do an analysis of how you did this year. If you set yearly goals and OKRs (objectives and key results) in January, how did you measure up against them? Look for specific data points as you do this analysis so there’s something concrete to evaluate yourself against. Your Square Dashboard has a wealth of analytics that can help you assess your business’s yearly performance — sales reports, new versus returning customers, and the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts, to name a few. When you’ve reviewed everyone’s results, consolidate all this information into a report that you can send to the entire company. For layout, here’s some inspiration for year-end report templates.
‘Tis the season for tidying up. That means your physical space, yes, but also your business systems and operations. Do an audit of every department in your business, which may include inventory, salespeople, behind-the-counter staff, finance, and your marketing team. Talk to them to see if there’s any area that’s taking up a ton of their time. If so, it may be time to put some systems in place to automate things. Square has features that can help with all this — inventory management, email marketing and customer engagement software, and an appointments scheduling tool, to name a few. You can also connect your account to a variety of business tools that help you manage all aspects of your business. Read more about the 21 apps you can connect to Square in our App Marketplace. Having everything streamlined and accessible in one tidy, centralized place (your Square account) will do wonders for your teams’ productivity.
3. Revisit your marketing strategy
It’s time to look at what worked and what didn’t with last year’s marketing initiatives. Some questions to answer: What’s your engagement been like on social media? How have you grown your followings? How has traffic grown on your website? What are your e-commerce conversion rates? What’s your average open rate and clickthrough rate for your marketing email, and do you see any trends you can learn from? Again, this all involves looking at your data. If specific things have been working better for you — say, email sent in the morning that has “Today Only” in the subject line is opened twice as much as those sent in the evening — it’s time to hone your strategy for next year.
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4. Experiment with different types of marketing
You have some time on your hands, so why not experiment with different ways to bring in business? If you haven’t been very active on social media, that’s a great place to start. It’s an area where you can measure specific results, and then iterate to improve them. Try your hand at posting promotions to Facebook (you can do that within Square’s CRM software), and see what kind of engagement you get with different types of copy and images. Try the same on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest (read more about how to use visual marketing to drive online sales). These efforts will give you a clear idea of what type of messaging resonates the most with potential customers.
Now may also be a good time to implement a loyalty program. A rewards program is one of the best ways to bring in repeat business, and they’re easy to create within Square’s Customer Engagement tool. You can also easily measure how well it’s working within your Dashboard.
5. Prepare for year-end reviews
A good thing about being a business with a slow season is that you have ample time to prepare for year-end reviews with your employees. We just published a Manager’s Guide to Year-End Performance Reviews, which is worth a read before you jump in.
6. Have an all-hands meeting
Gather your staff to go over what went well — and what didn’t — the previous year. Then start to go through what you’re hoping to accomplish next year. Have them prepare thoughts before the meeting so there are concrete things to discuss. This is also a great time to present your year-end business report and answer any questions.
Your slow season may mean a dip in sales, but it doesn’t need to be a dip in productivity. These tips will help you close out your year right and set you up for success in 2016.