Make The Most Of The Fall Season
The days are cooler, shorter and the leaves have begun to change. Halloween decorations have appeared on the shelves, shortly followed by Christmas decorations and your small business traffic is picking up. Fall is indeed in the air.
For many businesses, especially retail and hospitality, fall is one of the most profitable, chaotic and busy times of the year. Businesses are stocking up for the holiday and consumers are ready to make big purchases, even getting to those home improvement projects.
Do you have your plan in place for Small Business Saturday on November 25th? The event was originated by American Express in 2010. The US Senate recognized the day in 2011 and the event has grown ever since. In 2016, Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey commissioned by Amex and NFIB, demonstrated that shoppers supported small businesses in a big way – spending $15.4 billion.
If your business carries American Express, there are a number of free resources available to you; marketing collateral, ways to champion a neighborhood event and opportunity to list your business on their national map. It all goes into preplanning and advertising what you will be doing on November 25th. For consumers, it’s also about making decisions to support the independent business owner.
For professional and service delivery businesses, fall brings forth trade shows, conferences and conventions where you are likely to be meeting new contacts. How you decide to take advantage of this busy time of the year could greatly improve your profits for the 2017 fiscal year.
- Start on the holidays early. If your business is dependent on the holiday season, now is the time to get to work. If you sell to retail, it’s time to be out on the road, be in touch with decision makers and follow up on your corporate accounts. If you are on the other end and you are the retail store, stock up, schedule sales and promotions and be ready with the right amount of inventory. Be sure you are capturing emails for future touches and sale promotions.
- Trade shows. Yes trade shows can be a lot of work; however, they are a great way to build your customer base. For many companies, you will gain large amount of customers by attending trade shows where a large group of highly targeted customers are all brought into one place. They have come intent on learning about not only your business, but businesses like yours that they can interact with. If you have the opportunity, check into being a speaker at a break out session. This is a great way to establish credibility.
- Communicate with your suppliers. Fall is a busy time for everyone, not just for you, but also for your suppliers. Be sure to stay in contact with them and keep them up to date on any changes you may find that you need in deliveries. It is also important to make sure you pay their bills on time so that they continue to deliver to you.
- Business plan and marketing. If fall isn’t your busy season, take the time to review your business and marketing plans. Create a plan for 2018, reminding yourself of both your short term and long term goals. Take the time to see how you stacked up from your 2017 year goals and expectations.
From trade shows to Small Business Saturday, the last quarter is a busy time. Budgets are often prepared for the upcoming year and for some businesses, 4th quarter is a make or break it time. Planning and communication are key as you head into the fall season and finish the year out strong.
About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business growth.