The holiday shopping season is almost underway, and this is a busy time of year for small business owners who run seasonal businesses. Holiday retail sales are a major part of many small business owners’ annual revenues, but if you don’t already have an established business, you might be wondering if it’s too late to get in on the holiday sales action.
It’s true that the holiday shopping season seems to be starting earlier and earlier with each passing year. For example, Walmart started its holiday layaway program on August 28 – two weeks earlier than the year before. And a recent survey from Rubicon Project found that 1/3 of shoppers, and 42 percent of parents, have already started their holiday shopping as of September 15. But does that mean it’s “too late” to start a holiday small business? Not if you use the right strategy.
Here are a few insights and strategies to use when deciding which holiday business is right for you – it’s never too late if you have a good plan and are using the right business model.
Even if you don’t have the money for a brick-and-mortar retail shop, there are many other types of businesses that can serve consumers’ needs during the holiday season. For example, if you have good writing skills, you could start a “letters from Santa” business – set up a website inviting parents to pay you to write a personalized, hand-written message from “Santa Claus” to help kids experience the wonder of the holidays. Or if you look good in red, you could offer a “Santa Service” to entertain children at holiday parties.
Online shopping is a major part of consumer spending during the holiday season – the Rubicon Project survey found that nearly 75 percent of holiday shoppers will make some purchases online – and small businesses can get in on the action too. The holiday season might be an ideal time to start selling on Amazon – after all, you know that lots of people will be looking to buy great gifts for their loved ones, and this could be the right time of year to experiment with online retailing for the first time.
Time is Money
Keep in mind that many people feel incredibly busy and time-pressed during the holiday season, and many consumers – especially more affluent consumers – value services that help them save time. You could start a seasonal business as a personal shopper or household concierge – help affluent consumers run those errands and pick up last-minute gifts and ship packages. Offer services that help people save time during the holidays, and you’ll likely find lots of eager buyers.
Help People Relax
Another reality of the holiday season is that it can be very stressful. People feel pressured to get the right gifts, get their house clean and orderly, put on great holiday parties and otherwise make everything “perfect.” It can be a lot of pressure! This is an opportunity for you to start a business that helps people relax and de-stress. Whether it’s offering seasonal deals on massage therapy or starting a side business as a holiday party planner, there are many ways to make extra money during the holidays by marketing your business as a “de-stressing solution.”
Use the Personal Touch
Many people like to buy unique, handmade items for holiday gifts. Without a lot of startup capital, it’s totally possible to start a small business from your home by selling handmade crafts, artwork or homemade baked goods or candies. Whatever you love to do – whether it’s cooking, crafting or knitting – you can probably find a way to make some money by turning it into a holiday small business. You might find that customers love the personal touch of buying from you, an actual person and real-life small business owner, instead of navigating the madness of big-box stores and Black Friday.
The holiday season, at its best, is all about creating personal connections and strengthening relationships. Use this human element to your advantage – as a small business owner, you can help people appreciate the holidays in a whole new light.
What holiday small business marketing strategies have you utilized for your business? Leave a comment and let us know!