By Tanner Otts

Small Business Holiday Checklist

Small Business Holiday Checklist

7-steps to set you and your small business up for success this upcoming holiday season!

November 12, 2020 – Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are just a couple weeks away.

If you’re a business owner and felt uneasy reading that sentence, don’t panic quite yet. We’ve created a small business holiday checklist to prepare you for the upcoming season. 

This holiday season will be unlike any other for small business owners. With Covid-19 guidelines still in place, business owners are having to think outside the box in order to have a successful end of the year. 

By following the 7 steps below, you’ll learn key ways to navigate this unprecedented holiday season. The tasks in this small business holiday checklist are focused on improving the effectiveness of your digital presence before the season hits. With more customers researching and shopping online this year, it is crucial that your customers can easily and quickly find your business information.

Many business owners have already started their holiday plans by now. However, no matter how far along you are in planning for the holidays, this checklist will serve as an easy guideline for your business.

1. Promote your holiday offers – for free! 

This is one of the most expensive times of the year to try and get advertisements launched. Instead of fighting for limited ad space, capitalize on your free advertising platforms! 

First, update your listings with your holiday promotions on Facebook, Yelp, and most importantly, Google My Business. Not only does Google My Business update your digital presence across Google Search and Maps, but it also allows you to insert product listings for free! Keeping your Google account fresh is a great way to stay on top of your small business digital presence without spending too much time. 

Your customers are already looking for you online. Get your special offers in front of them – at no cost to you!

2. Review your website’s page speed

Holiday traffic doesn’t just affect physical storefronts, it can affect your website’s page speed. Before the holiday traffic comes, make sure that your website is ready to handle it! 

You wouldn’t want a slow shopping experience in your physical store. Why should your website be any different? Most of the time, your website is the first impression your potential customers get of your business. This is especially true during Covid-19.

A slow-loading website negatively affects your chance of making a conversion. Studies have shown that 25% of visitors will leave a website if it takes longer than 4 seconds to load. 

Check your website’s performance score on Business Warrior and see where you can improve!

3. Set your business hours for the holidays

Make sure your business finalizes the specific days and hours you plan to be open during all of the upcoming holidays.

Then, once you’ve decided on your holiday hours, make it public. Remove the guess work for your customers by updating your social media, website, and listings with all of your holiday hours. Here’s how to set your holiday hours on Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook

How to set your holiday hours on Google My Business:

  1. Sign in to Google My Business.
  2. If you have multiple locations, choose the location you’d like to manage.
  3. Click the Special hours section.
  4. Click Confirm hours next to an upcoming holiday,  or click Add new date to choose a different date.
  5. Enter the opening and closing times for that day.
  6. Slide the circle to Closed to indicate that the location is closed all day.
  7. If you’re open 24 hours, click Opens at and select 24 hours from the dropdown menu that appears.
  8. If you enter closing hours past midnight, make sure to set them properly.
  9. When you’ve finished entering all of your special hours, click Apply. Your special hours will appear to customers on Google only for the designated days.

How to set your holiday hours on Yelp:

  1. Login to the Yelp for Business app.
  2. Go to Business Information and select Special Hours.
  3. Mark your business as closed for the day or open during a window of time.
  4. Special hours are on a day-by-day basis. Be sure to add each day where your hours are going to be different than regularly listed.

How to set your holiday hours on Facebook:

  1. Click About on the left side of your Page.
  2. Then go to Edit Page Info.
  3. Click the Hours tab at the top.
  4. Add your hours and click Save Changes.

4. Finalize your holiday marketing strategy

With Black Friday right around the corner, your business needs to have its marketing plan ready to launch. 

First, come up with a budget for your marketing plan – and stick to it! It can be easy to overspend this time of year, which makes it even more critical that your business has done the proper planning beforehand. Once you’ve set your budget, begin planning the special offers you want to promote.

Then, you’ll want to create any corresponding assets to go with your campaign. If you use a design team for your advertisements, you’ll want to get design requests in as soon as possible. This is typically the busiest time of the year for graphic designers. 

Understandably, this is an expensive season to launch advertisements. Be sure that any ads you launch are done efficiently. Research efficient campaigns like remarketing campaigns to get the most bang for your buck.

5. Review and update any Covid-19 guidelines for your business

Due to the pandemic, this year’s shopping season is going to be a little different. Your audience wants to know what to expect from your business before they become customers this holiday season. 

First, consider the changes the pandemic has brought to holiday shopping and brainstorm how you can remain successful. Many small business owners have made the following changes for the holidays:

  • Boost online sales capabilities
  • Implement touchless transactions in stores
  • Offer local delivery, where possible

Then, use your digital presence to inform customers what to expect. Update your listings with any new changes or special offers your business is implementing to help your customers navigate this unusual holiday season.

Don’t let Covid-19 be the reason your business has a less than stellar holiday.

6. Take the time to research industry and competitor trends

Just as you should know all the ins and outs of your own company, you should take the time to know more about your competitors.

Find out what your competition is offering with their holiday promotions. Do your best to learn from your competitors. If you can assess what worked and what didn’t for your competitors, you can use this knowledge to create more value for your own business. 

Lastly, take it a step further by doing some industry research. Expand your scope and look at what others in your industry are doing outside of your market. The more information you gather for your company, the better!

7. Participate in Small Business Saturday

Creating special offers and promos for Black Friday has become a requirement for businesses. However, it can be difficult to capture the attention of your audience when industry giants are launching expensive campaigns just about everywhere you look.

Luckily, the popularity of Small Business Saturday has grown every year as consumers are learning the importance of small businesses in their community. 

To capitalize on this, think about creating an offer specifically for  Small Business Saturday. Again, this is something you should research by looking at industry and competitor trends. 

Preparing your business for the holiday season is no easy task. While following this checklist will help set your business up for success, this time of year can still be seriously overwhelming. 

Book a free meeting with one of our business experts if you’re looking for further support. We will work with you to answer questions or offer guidance to make sure your business is ready for whatever the holiday season throws at you!