Q: I am just outside of Portland, Oregon, and this is my first time going through the holidays as an owner of a wellness business. I am totally overwhelmed and feel pulled in all directions. What should I focus on to maximize the return for my company this time of year?
A: Thanksgiving is almost here, and holiday madness is in full swing–in our personal lives and our businesses.
Stores are busily preparing their spaces to greet customers with holiday shine and sparkle. The health and wellness industry is somewhat is unique in this regard, though, because the customer doesn’t just visit your business, they are your business.
This time of year can make or break businesses. I want you to enter it with a strategy to ensure that it is successful personally and financially. Here are a few suggestions on where to focus energy to survive the holiday season.
1. Consider the Full Customer Experience
When the customer is your business, you’ve already spent countless hours thinking through how to create the best possible experience for your clients. It’s probably already really, really good. Is there a way to take it even further for the holidays?
If people give gift certificates for your service, you may be seeing new customers who you have the opportunity to convert into repeat clients. How can you completely wow them with your service? More than just delivering quality, what special touches can you add for the holidays?
It’s also important to be aware that you can infuse something special into the experience even before the client meets you. Are you replying promptly to phone and voice messages? Are you conveying warmth in your communication?
This is a courtship that you hope turns into a budding romance. Woo your customers from the beginning!
2. Be All In
Time is at a premium more than ever this time of year. Very simply, there won’t be time to get to everything.
One of the biggest ways to drain your time? By trying to multitask.
It’s not effective. It causes you to half-focus on more than one thing at a time. It leaves you feeling even more stressed.
The alternative? Fully focus on what you’re doing. We never have enough time with family and friends, so when you have that time, be all in. Laugh, smile, and know that you can get to everything else later.
When you’re with your customers, they should be your only concern. They’ll know if you’re focused wholly on them or putting on a decent showing while thinking of 20 million other things.
To help you achieve this, put time blocks for specific tasks on your calendar. When you know that everything has a particular time in the day to be attended to, it makes it easier to focus on one thing at a time.
3. Keep Close Watch on Your Finances
When things get busy, we try to give ourselves permission to let things slip. I get it–not everything can get done. But your money is too critical to lose sight of. Your financial management cannot be one of the things that gets overlooked at the holidays.
It is precisely when you have an increase in the number of transactions that it’s easy for a fraudulent charge to slip in. At the end of each business day, look at your accounts. Review them on your phone or computer to make sure that everything seems copacetic. You’ll be thankful that you won’t have to add doing a police report to your holiday list.
4. Let It Go
Going to see Frozen II with any small people this week? Yeah, me, too. I’m not sure what the breakout song will be from the new version, but I want you to sing “Let It Go” to yourself as you read my next bit of advice.
You didn’t need me to tell you that time is at a premium this time of year. Not everything is going to get done.
Nope. I’m not going to listen to your protests. It can’t all happen.
Make a list of all of the tasks that happen in your life and your business. What are the ones that you can you catch up on after the holidays? What can you outsource? It can be as small as making Instacart your bestie for the next several weeks. Not having to go to the grocery store can save you hours that you can then use to apply to other areas of your life and business.
5. Keep Shouting Yourself Out
Now is not the time to go dark on your marketing. Highlight your clients and employees on social media. Tell some of the amazing stories behind your business. Holiday promotions don’t end once Black Friday hits–that’s just the beginning. Be sure that you have a plan to keep churning out content to highlight your work and bring it to life to your audience.
Prepare yourself, do your best, and fully focus on what you’re doing. That’s my holiday advice for any new or existing business. This special time of year brings with it definite challenges, but also exciting opportunities.
One other tip: Once you get this holiday season under your belt, schedule time to debrief. Whether you’re a sole proprietor or have a team, reflect on what went well, what didn’t, and complete surprises for your business. Discuss ideas on what you can approach differently for subsequent years. And then schedule your deadline to get your holiday plan in place long before Thanksgiving 2020.