How to plan ahead this summer for the run up to Christmas
It's summer, the bees are buzzing and all you want to think about is picnics at sunset and feeling the sun on your face, right?
Summer is also the time to start preparing and planning for the busy season ahead. It might feel early for words like 'Christmas' and 'festive season' but when you get to November you'll be so glad you started preparing for Christmas back n the summer.
Here are a few actions you can take now to get prepared for the run up to Christmas
This should be a fun exercise so it’s a perfect one to be thinking about when you’re taking a break this summer. It’s time to get dreaming up new products and deciding on your product range for the run up to Christmas.
For me, taking breaks, exploring, travelling and learning new things stoke my creative fire. So take the quieter summer months as an opportunity to feed your creativity. Keep notes in your phone or sketch out ideas in a notebook. Then, set out a day to develop your ideas and pick out which new products you'll launch in time for the Christmas rush.
Get your kit serviced
Whether you use sewing machines, a potting wheel or anything else that has moving parts now is a good time to clean everything up and have your equipment and tools serviced. Make sure you keep the paperwork and ask what guarantee there is after a service - I'm speaking from experience on this one!
Review your website
Go to your website and try to look at it with fresh eyes or better still, ask a friend to do this with you. What could do with a tweak? Have you blogged recently? Are the links all working? How are your product descriptions and photos? Is there a picture of you on there? Work out which changes are a priority and schedule in some time to make those amends.
How are you numbers looking? If you’ve fallen behind with your finances get them back up to date before you hit September and then try to keep on top of it. If the idea of this fills you with dread, perhaps now is the time to think about outsourcing and look for an accountant who can help you with your finances, so you can concentrate on what you do best.
Apply to markets
If you want to do some face to face selling you’ll need to apply to markets early. I’d heavily recommend doing your research before applying as they can differ significantly. If there’s a market you’re interested in going to, contact some of the previous attendees and get their thoughts, they’re usually happy to help. Or if you can, visit a market before applying.
Product launch plan
If you’re launching new products you’ll likely want to have them available to sell by the end of September. Working backwards from your launch date, plan out the steps you’ll need to get your new products ready to sell.
Sense check your prices
Are you prices still profitable and have you put your prices up at all this year? If you’re burying your head in the sand a little on your pricing, now is a good time to sit down and sense check your pricing. If you're struggling with this, I've created a free money planning workbook to take you from setting income goals to pricing your products.
Touch base with your wholesale suppliers
If you wholesale your products, get in touch with your wholesale contacts and let them know what lead times you're working to at the moment and drop them a note detailing any new products you'll be launching.
Take care of yourself
It’s all to easy too get to November and already feel overwhelmed with a couple of months still ahead of you until Christmas. Have a think about when you can take a break from your business this summer and in the run up to Christmas before it gets super busy.
[OVER TO YOU]
From the list above work out what areas you need to prepare or bring up to date. Don’t try to do everything at once, just pick out one or two priority areas which should help to get you ready and prepares for the final months of the year.