December is a hectic month for everyone, but add the stress of owning a small business to the mix and your holidays could end up looking like a chaotic scene from a Chevy Chase movie. Luckily, it’s possible to capitalize on this busy season of buying and giving while still maintaining your sanity. \t Set Your Sales Goals Now You can’t effectively prepare for the holiday season until you’ve set your goals. Establish objectives for different targets between now and the end of the year. Define the minimum goals you need to reach, your expected goals, and your dream goals. Don’t limit your accomplishments to just sales. For example, consider setting social media goals that focus on customer engagement and number of followers. \t Stock Up on Extra Inventory & Encourage Early Orders You don’t want to drive tons of customers to your business only to turn them away because your product is out of stock or you're overbooked. Invest in extra inventory and employees. Build a buffer for yourself by incentivizing your customers to shop or schedule services early. Throw in discounted shipping, or a freebie with purchase if they shop or schedule before a certain date. If you do run low on inventory or book up quickly, you’ll have enough time to reorder and get fit everything in before Christmas. \t Create a Holiday Marketing Plan Everyone loves the holidays! This season of gift-giving and good will toward men has been practically hardwired in us since birth. Embrace the season, get festive, and don’t be afraid to tell your audience that you have what they need. Entice them with seasonal sales, clever packaging, and the type of customer service that only a small business can provide. \t Take the Time to Train Your Seasonal Employees Many people use Christmas as an excuse to try new products and businesses. This is your chance to wow your new customers. Take the time to train your seasonal employees. It might seem laborious at the moment, but it will save you time in the long run. Avoiding improperly packaged items or a poor customer service experience at the hands of a temporary employee could save you many a lost customer. \t Work When You’re Most Productive Resist the urge to squeeze in a little work time between a family gathering or dinner. Instead, work when you’re most productive. If you’re a morning person, make a goal to get up early every morning in December to check emails, pay bills, and review inventory. You’ll be more efficient by committing blocks of time to your business and you’ll be more likely to maintain your sanity and personal life. Designate work time and personal time and try not to mix them.