The busy Christmas season is over; New Years has come and gone. January and February are typically slow months for retail, and you’ve vowed in a New Year’s resolution kind of way to take some of the lull time these first months of 2017 and get your business better organized and figure out ways to be more prepared for the busy events coming up this year.
Start by taking a critical look at the year you’ve had, then plan out ways to make the coming year even better.
Get out all your notes from2016, read through what you’ve done. How well did your events bring in new customers? Which promotions were the most successful? Which ones didn’t work as you’d planned? How come? Looking at an overview of your different events all together allows you to compare the successes side by side and be more objective. Hold an open discussion with your partners and employees – get their feedback, and write it down so you can learn from your experiences.
Plan the year ahead
Now, take out a 2017 calendar and start filling it in. Fill in the events and promotions that were successful. Make notes of improvements over last year that you could do. Next, replace less successful events with something else, maybe try something new this year. Why not set up a booth at a festival or a Christmas market to get some fresh exposure for your brand? Or you could boost your online store; invest in expanding it, or making improvements to your sales platform. Keep doing what is working, and make some changes to spur growth and sales.
When you were going over your events from last year, I’m sure some of the things you noticed were moments where you could have handled those details better. Either you ran out of shopping bags, got behind with the books, or miscalculated shipping times; these are all valuable lessons for 2017.
Ways to keep on top of your game could be creating special calendars on your tablet, or you can try using tracking and planning apps to keep you focused. You could even use a whiteboard to help you visualize your year. It takes discipline, but a solidly run business lays the foundations for systematic customer satisfaction.
Factor in time for you in your calendar! Taking care of yourself and your partners, employees keeps everyone healthier and happier, and those are the kind of retailers that customers want to work with.
Be honest with yourself
Running a business is far from easy. Experimenting with different sales platforms online, or promotions and events in your physical store involve some trial and error – documenting your plans and how well they went is vital. This includes recording the good and the ugly, don’t be afraid of writing down a failure. If you had an in store sales promotion and ordered too much stock, or had some frustrated customers because of a lack of staffing, learn from this. Acknowledge what happened and next time you will do it better.
Reviewing your year in business gives you clarity and perspective going into the New Year. Schedule in your annual events that bring in the customers. Next plan in some new ways to boost sales and growth, by cutting out time spent on less successful strategies. Stay healthy, organized and focused and 2017 is on track to be your most successful year yet!