The holiday season can be a tricky time for your small business partners. With Q4 comes increased holiday demand, overall competition, and difficulty in maintaining supply and cash flow. There’s a handful of ways to make sure small business partners don’t fall behind over the next few weeks, but it’s important to start considering and implementing these 5 strategies as soon as possible.
Most business owners, especially newer ones, can get overwhelmed during the holiday season. There are so many additional considerations for them to think about, including inventory, consumer demand, more PTO requests, and a whole host of other administrative responsibilities.
Since partners serve as a middleman for business funding, they can be seen as a sort of guiding hand during difficult times. After all, small business partners use your services because they trust what you say and what you do. To prepare your clients, make a holiday season checklist that they should be following. This will help streamline their business operations while also making business decisions easier to justify.
For example, if you’re explaining how increased customer demand is something your partners should take into account during Q4, you can integrate a recommendation for working capital or other sources of funding to keep them stable during this time of year. Clarifying the ins and outs of the holiday season would be extremely valuable for your clients and could pave the way to closing more deals as they become more educated about what running a business is like around this time of year.
Your small business clients are always busy, but the holiday season ramps up their workload, taking up even more of their time. As a result, business owners could lose track of certain considerations for their business that partners need to remind them of. This is why preparing your marketing materials is important.
While your partners focus on preparing their business for the holidays, they may accidentally forget about certain responsibilities, like applying for funding ahead of time. With the increased need for business funding in Q4, it’s important for your clients to be proactive about submitting applications earlier than they would be compared to other times in the year.
As partners, planning out your marketing and advertising campaigns is the best way to remind your clients how to prepare for the holiday season. Reminders on your website and consistent social media posts are a great start. You should also make it easy for them to apply for funding by publicizing relevant links so clients have ease of access and don’t have to waste time. If you are already investing in your marketing promotions, the rule of thumb is to increase spending by 25% in Q4 because how many other competitors are also ramping up their social media efforts.
It’s a term that’s plagued us all, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic: supply chain issues. Manufacturers can’t keep up at the moment, and there’s little hope we’ll see a surplus in inventory anytime soon. These supply issues are exacerbated by the holiday season and, as a result, customers are shopping earlier than ever for holiday gifts.
The most important thing small business partners can do is stay proactive. Refer to data of previous years to understand what your hottest products are, and place those orders in as soon as possible. There will inevitably be disappointed customers, more so than in previous years, but it’s important to find workable solutions as soon as possible to reduce the extent of this pain point for customers.
If there’s understandably nothing that can be done to prevent supply issues, small businesses should immediately focus on their PR efforts. One of the biggest reasons customers breach their brand loyalty is because of the lack of communication. Your communication team needs to explain the situation clearly and be ready to provide alternatives perhaps in the post-holiday season. At the end of the day, emphasizing that you prioritize the customer above all else could be the key to retaining them in the midst of all the chaos.
The holiday season is especially stressful for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Though they may not verbalize it, your partners probably feel overworked and underappreciated. This provides partners an enriching opportunity to show appreciation for their clients.
One classic way to express gratitude is with thank-you notes. This is especially effective after closing a deal, and it allows you to reiterate your thankfulness that your clients trust you. This gesture serves as one final check-in with your client, and doing so may prompt them to remember you when they are looking for another business loan.
Even better than telling is showing appreciation. One suggestion is, after closing a deal, ask your partners what they liked or disliked about the loan approval process. Once you receive feedback, find a way to implement changes that mitigate some of these pain points, and then update your clients about their valuable input and the changes it led to. This emphasis on “customer service” solidifies the broker-client rapport and gives small business partners the confidence that you’re looking out for their best interests.
We already talked about how the supply shortage makes holiday shopping more difficult. With record levels of inflation and fewer gifts being bought, small business owners are in a dilemma. Despite increasing post-holiday sales as a last-minute attention grabber, chances are likely that your partners will face low sales and cash flow numbers at the turn of the new year.
With the impending slow period as we transition into Q1, partners will have their work cut out for them. It will be important to communicate the importance of capital going into the new year and how you’re prepared to help clients sail the choppy waters that come in the post-holiday season. Partners may also come to you seeking help in financial and cash flow management once sales start to dwindle.
Now is the perfect time to start reminding clients about this trend. You don’t want them to end the year off in an impressive manner only to be blindsided in a few short weeks. Start talking with your clients about the potential post-holiday season struggles they may experience, and be prepared to talk about funding options like working capital so they hit the ground running into 2023.
Whether it be covering payroll for new seasonal employees, ramping up marketing campaigns, or being prepared for unexpected budget increases, we at Backd know this is an uncertain time of year, and we are prepared to help your small business partners in these moments. We offer a variety of business funding options, like working capital and line of credit. Your clients only need 3 minutes to fill out our application, and they can get the funding they need to thrive this holiday season within 24 hours.