Wanted for the Holidays: Juggler/Psychic.

If you were juggling holiday plans, scheduling staff and ordering stock a year ago September, there was probably little that could put a damper on your holiday shopping. Then the recession hit.

Preparing your small business for the holidays is a challenge at the best of times.

These days, most entrepreneurs have to do more than juggle; they have to be veritable psychics, especially with issues like managing inventory:
· Order too early and you may need to extend your credit line with suppliers and lenders.

· Order too much and you could be forced to slash prices to move merchandise by Boxing Day.

· Order too little and you might not be able to replenish your inventory in time for unexpected demand.




The key – as every entrepreneur learns – is doing a little of everything, knowing your suppliers and being as cautiously optimistic as you can afford to be.

Small business owner David Sasson has discovered a strategy that works for him. “Our focus this year has been to fine-tune our inventory process which means we are ordering in smaller batches,” he says. Sasson is ordering inventory early from those with long lead times and later if they can replenish more quickly.

More ways to get ready for the holiday season.

Of course, supply and demand isn’t the only issue to deal with at this time of year. Online bookkeeping site, Outright, offers some common-sense tips – whether you’re in the thick of the holiday rush or taking some time off:

1. Assess your workload – A retailer that sells Christmas ornaments has different needs from a freelancer whose clients are on vacation during the holidays. As always, understand your customers’ expectations.

2. Schedule well in advance – If you’re taking time off, working a few extra hours in the weeks leading up to your vacation beats doubling your workload the week before you go away.

3. Use what you learned for next year – After the holidays, examine whether your business might have been adversely affected by the steps you took or didn’t take, and correct them the next time around.

More suggestions here:

What plans are you making to ensure your business runs smoothly during a peak season – or while you’re away?

By Adam

December 10, 2009