The Holiday Season is Done. Now What?

The holidays are over and it’s time to review your sales data and look over how your business did this season. Reviewing how the season went will reveal how you can improve your performance next year. Keeping track year to year will help improve performance and increase your gains. Here is a process to make the most of the data you have collected.

Review your sales data

Look over your profit and loss statement for your holiday sales. The numbers will show you which products performed best, how your customers spent their money and how sales compared to other times of the year. There is a lot of data to comb through but here are some of the things you might want to pay attention to.

  • Holiday season sales
  • Peak days
  • Best-selling items
  • Worst-selling items
  • Average transaction amount
  • Most common billing and shipping ZIP codes
  • If you offered holiday deals, the percentage of transactions that used them

These numbers will help show you which items and promotions did the best. It also will allow you to compare the season to the rest of the year.

Calculate seasonal costs

You are looking for the difference between the normal operating costs and the higher seasonal costs. Include any additional marketing you paid for. Remember to include to add in any part-time help you hired, any additional shipping supplies you had to purchase, and any extra payment processing costs. If you had extra holiday-seasonal advertising, be sure to include it as well.

Review customer feedback

Look at reviews and comments left on social media and review sites. See where you excelled and where you can improve. Sort out any unresolved issues that can damage your reputation. Also examine where you did well, where you can improve, and what the most common questions were.

Evaluate your time

How did you spend your time? How much was on profit-boosting activities? Were there time-consuming activities you could outsource? Did you have enough time to conduct all the normal activities of your business as well as the added time needed for the season? Did you hire enough help to keep up with everything? The solution might be as simple as streamlining your processes or it may be that you need to hire more help during the holiday peaks.

Evaluate the season

What went well? What can be improved? Did you make a profit? Why or why not? How can you make more sales and better margins? Did you have enough help? Look at the big picture.

If you made a profit during the season and had great reviews from your customers, and you had time to manage your business during the rush, congratulations! You won the small business holiday trifecta.

If you were overworked, you can start planning to get more help for next year. If your reviews weren’t so good, you can plan for delivering better customer service.

What if your time management, sales numbers, and customer service were good but you still didn’t make as much of a profit as you’d hoped? Then it’s time to review pricing and costs to see where you can make adjustments.

The good news about making adjustments is that you have plenty of time to refine them before Black Friday next year. Consider the other holidays an early test run for improvements to your business.

Post Holiday Sales Checklist

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The Instagram Age Still Going Strong

If you have a visual aspect to your business you owe it to yourself to be on Instagram. It is the number 14th ranked website in the world and has over 800 million people as part of it. The beauty of Instagram as a marketing platform is the ads aren’t as developed as Facebook so it still feels like an ad-free platform. With a plan to share visual an interesting content you can gain a wide following to market your goods or services to. Here are some statistics on why you should be paying attention to this powerful tool.

Instagram - Stats

How Many Types of Marketing are There?

So far I have found 52 distinct types of marketing with only a little crossover between them. Of course, some of them work together like Email Marketing and Content Marketing. They can be used at the same time and for the same purpose. The next two days I will post an infographic with the main broad categories of marketing as I see them. Concentrating less on delivery types and more on content.

Marketing - DifferentTypes of Marketing

What is a Team?

Team is a word that gets used too often and doesn’t really apply the term in a way that lets us see the value of a true team. A team isn’t just a group that works together. Councils, meeting groups, task forces all get the name team applied but aren’t necessarily teams. “Groups do not become teams simply because that is what someone calls them.”

 “A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goats, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.”

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 “Teams and good performance are inseparable: You cannot have one without the other.” In every company, there are chances to use teams as a powerful tool to create change, ideas or higher performance. Management just needs to learn how to use teams to accomplish goals that lend themselves to team performance.

“Teamwork represents a set of values that encourage listening and responding constructively to views expressed by others, giving others the benefit of the doubt, providing support, and recognizing the interests and achievements of others.”

The first step to developing a team approach is to see teams as performance units instead of just a set of values. Teams need goals and metrics to perform well. These usually come from management and are based on company values or needs. The team needs a purpose they can all get behind. Change the broad metrics of the company goals into specific and measurable goals the team can focus on.

Everyone on a team must be doing about the same amount of work. Even the team leader needs to be working towards the goal. Unless they all have measurable input into the whole, you don’t have an effective team. Each member must be accountable for their input for the group to really be a team.

There is no need to work specifically on building trust if the team framework is in place. “When people work together toward a common objective, trust and commitment follow.”

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There are three basic types of teams, each with its specific challenges. Teams that recommend things, Teams that make or do things and Teams that run things.

Teams that recommend things

These teams need to get off to a quick and constructive start. This can be accomplished by making sure the goals are clear, they have a solid charter and the help and information the team is going to need is in place. The second thing required is to prep for the handoff. The team is not usually the people putting into action the recommendation. Make sure the implementers are involved in some way in the process or the recommendation will probably not happen. Bring these people into meetings with the team early and through the final stages so everyone is on the same page and the recommendation has practical input.

Teams that make or do things

Management needs to decide what the “critical delivery point” is and have that be the focus of the team. There needs to be a relentless focus on performance for these teams or there could be confusion and negative impressions on the team process. If teams are not held accountable it becomes obvious that teamwork is not valued and the team will come apart.

Teams that run things

The biggest issue facing these teams is if they should exist at all. “Although the team option promises greater performance, it also brings more risk, and managers must be brutally honest in assessing the trade-offs.” When teams are used to run things, top management should be sure they have successfully identified the purpose and goal of the team. “Too often, such teams confuse the broad mission of the total organization with the specific purpose of their small group at the top.”

Conclusion

Teams are the most powerful and effective tool management has to tackle the problems of their business. Using them effectively and efficiently is the key to succeeding in the business world.

 

Teamwork – The Essentials

You can’t just throw some people in a room, label them a team and expect results. Teams are built over time and need experience working together. When a team is first formed it will work slower and less efficiently than if you just assigned individual tasks to get the same work done. The advantage of a team comes as they gain the experience of being a team. Eventually, they are more efficient and will generate ideas that no single person could on their own. Is it worth it? Not always. You need to weigh the pros and cons of teamwork to decide. If it’s a small business and there isn’t much choice then you need to get the team to gel as quickly as possible to minimize the disruption that happens as a team comes together. Here are the essential ingredients in getting a team to work together.

Team - 6 Essentials for a productive team

Teamwork – It matters a lot!

Most small businesses have to coordinate and use teamwork, either internally or externally. With a small staff, there are more than enough hats to go around so working as a team ensures all of the company functions are being accomplished with little overlap. Even a single person company has to coordinate with vendors and other service providers to make their company run efficiently. This week we will be talking about teamwork and how to make teams work for you rather than the other way around.

Team - Why teamwork matters