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Lining Up a Lucrative Holiday Season: Tips for Small Businesses

For small businesses, especially retailers, the holiday season is comparable to nothing else on the calendar. It’s an opportunity to drive profits for the year and make loyal new customers with great deals and amazing customer service. Of course, the bottom line is what ultimately matters, but there’s more to it than pricing and marketing. 

Having a successful holiday season depends on three key things: motivated, hard-working employees; presenting an attractive holiday appearance with a well-decorated store and storefront; and following fair, customer-centric policies through Christmas and on into the new year. Statistics bear out the importance of having a good game plan for the holidays: According to the National Retail Federation, as much as 19 percent of annual sales for small businesses is generated in November and December, so consider carefully the following tips.


The sheer volume of business during the holiday season makes it necessary to have a strategic approach so you’re prepared to handle things like customer returns, new customer outreach, and inventory tracking and control. 

You’ll also need an internal strategy for generating enthusiasm amongst your employees, because they are the ones who will interact most with your customers. It’s important to sit down with staff to assess policies and concerns in advance because if everyone’s not on the same page, you’re likely to experience problems at the worst possible time. 

If your business hasn’t moved aggressively into the ecommerce sphere, this holiday season is your big chance. Drop shipping is a great model for many small businesses because you don’t have to worry about maintaining a huge on-site inventory. If you haven’t tried it out, the holidays might be the perfect opportunity.


Every small business will be increasing their marketing both in store and online to generate holiday sales. Hiring professionals like graphic designers can help create festive and eye-catching visuals for advertising campaigns, while web designers can enhance the holiday-themed appearance and functionality of websites. When collaborating with designers, you might need to convert a PDF to a JPG file for easy sharing or printing of web images. Try this PDF-to-JPG converter to make this conversion while also maintaining image quality, ensuring your holiday marketing materials are visually appealing and ready for both online and offline use.

Additionally, you can make your business and your products stand out by giving examples of creative uses for your wares, or show how your business supports a larger cause. Partnering with a charity can benefit your business through shared marketing, building brand awareness, and establishing your company as altruistic. And you can use social media to do something interactive that aligns with your company’s and the nonprofit’s goals.

Holiday Work Schedules

Address employee holiday work schedule concerns quickly and clearly. Let employees know that you’ll do your best to accommodate their requests, but that seniority will be honored during the process. If it’s financially possible, offer special bonuses for those who volunteer to work Christmas Eve day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Incentives can generate excitement and enthusiasm among your people, which will result in a more successful holiday season. 

Holiday Hires

Most retailers seek out seasonal help for the holiday rush, but look at holiday hiring as a strategy for finding potential candidates for long-term employment. Be prepared to outline specific needs for the season so new hires are aware of how busy they can expect to be. The last thing you want is someone quitting unexpectedly during a customer rush. 

Get Festive

The holidays can be a fun excuse to get creative. Consider holding a theme-based promotion, like “Come as your favorite elf.” Hire a band or DJ, serve hors d’oeuvres, and offer promotions to employees and customers to increase engagement. 

Decorate your storefront for the season. According to Shopify, a creative window dressing can highlight promotions and key products to increase your foot traffic.


The holiday season is when you really want to put your best foot forward as a company. Begin your holiday preparations early, market yourself aggressively (and uniquely) and have customer return/exchange policies and employee scheduling locked in early. By the time things get really crazy, it should all fall into place.

Join the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce for access to more holiday marketing resources as well as other local business owners who can provide insight!

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