With Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror, Bend business owners now find themselves in the midst of the more than month-long holiday season that concludes on New Year’s Day. The holidays impact different Bend businesses differently. For some, like retail businesses and restaurants, this is one of the busiest times of year. Owners of these consumer-oriented businesses are most likely focused exclusively on day-to-day operational challenges – making hay while the sun shines (or snow falls).
For Bend businesses that cater to other businesses (business to business, or B2B), the holiday season presents some challenges as well as opportunities.
Sales opportunities can be few and far between during the holidays, as buyers are on vacation or focused on longer-term planning. Sometimes it can be difficult to get calls returned or orders placed this time of year.
But the lull in activity also presents opportunities for Bend businesses to plan for a successful 2017 and beyond.
Here are a few tips to leverage the holiday season for a more profitable future:
- Hold a staff retreat to plan for 2017 and build camaraderie. The EagerLaw PC team is holding a retreat in December to plan our activities for the coming year, and many other businesses do the same. We are holding our retreat on-site, with family-oriented social activities later in the day. A retreat doesn’t need to be expensive to be effective.
- Develop a marketing plan. It’s been said that a good marketing plan is the marketing plan you will stick to. Without a plan, it is difficult, if not impossible, to budget time and funds and measure results in the coming year. The holiday season is a good opportunity to reflect on what worked and what didn’t in 2016, and to adjust for 2017.
- Assess and revise nagging legal issues with your business. In the daily bustle of owning a business in Bend, it’s easy to overlook issues like whether your business entity (such as a limited liability company or corporation) is up-to-date, or whether your employee handbook is consistent with current, and always-changing, Oregon and federal employment law. Maybe your business is a sole proprietorship or partnership, and you’ve long intended to create an LLC or corporation to protect your personal assets. These are things we all put off “until we have time.” The holiday season may just be that time.
Of course, our primary goal during the holidays is to spend time with family. By carving out some planning time – time to work on our businesses – Bend business owners can win the holiday season, and win 2017.