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Peak trading periods, such as the the run up to Christmas or the summer high-street sales, can present great opportunities for many businesses to make some extra revenue – especially a start-up that’s just getting off the ground. However, new companies should make sure they’re up to the job of catering for these extra busy times, while creating a good shopping experience for potential customers that will keep them coming back.
To help those businesses who haven’t yet experienced operating through busier times of the year, this blog explains some key factors to consider when preparing a start-up for a peak trading period.
When preparing your start-up for a peak period, making sure your company has enough stock is essential to meet your customers’ needs. As a start-up, you should aim to show you can deliver what customers want to prevent them going elsewhere and not coming back. You should list those products which have sold well since starting your business, and consider how much more you might need. You should also put a discount sales strategy in place, in case those popular items don’t sell as well as you predicted.
You need to make sure you have a good supply of the necessary items you need for the day-to-day running of your business. This could range from spare cutlery for a cafe to extra bottles of shampoo for a beautician business, to gift bags for a high-street retailer. It’s wise to also look at your budget and check you have the money available and a list of reliable suppliers, so you can buy more of these items, as and when you need them.
You should also make sure you have the staff, equipped with the right skills, to handle your business during a peak period. As a start-up company, you might not yet have any staff in place and may be able to run your business without them. However, during a busy period, it’s worth considering hiring a temporary part-time or full-time assistant to help you keep on top of those extra busy hours and days, until things quieten down. It’s wise to find an assistant who already has some experience of working during a business’s peak period, so they can hit the ground running to save you time on training. If not, make sure you can provide time to train them up quickly before the business rush begins.
Security is also important during a peak season, as more cash in the till and more customers on your premises can encourage shoplifting and theft. You should consider hiring a security attendant or make sure you or your assistant are extra vigilant when keeping an eye on things. Make time to do security checks and don’t handle large amounts of cash when your customers are around.
This is always important in business, especially during a peak period, to make sure your business can safely cater for higher numbers of customers than you’re used to. If you haven’t done so already, you should conduct a risk assessment of your company premises and put together a health and safety policy. You can find out more about this in our blog about putting a health and safety policy in place. It’s worth also reviewing this before a peak period begins, such as making sure all shop lights are working properly, entrance and exit doors can open and close safely and walkways are free from hazards.
You should also ensure busier days won’t present additional hazards. For instance, will warning signs on the machinery in your salon be seen clearly when more people are present? Also, consider limiting the number of people who can enter your premises at one time and setting up a place where they can queue outside. It’s also worth speaking to neighbouring businesses to let them know of your plans to cater for more people and finding out about theirs.
Tidiness – Make sure all parts of your business, like your stockroom, workroom or kitchen are tidy and organised to help reduce chaos, confusion and stress
Marketing – Check that your marketing is up to scratch, such as the branding on your shop front, so more customers are drawn to your business and know exactly what you do, sell or provide
Maintenance – During a busier period, more eyes are on your business. It’s important to make sure it’s looking its best to leave a positive and lasting impression on new customers
Peak periods are just one of many important elements you should understand when setting up a new business. From sales to funding, there are different areas where it’s wise to build up your knowledge to get a start-up going.
With our expert start-up business advice service, we can provide you with the help and support you need to set up and develop a new company and make that business fly. The membership service includes access to:
If you’re setting up a new business and are interested in learning more about how our services can help you, please visit our FSB start-up business advice service web page. The service is included as standard with our Business Creation package. Please take a look at our package comparison page to find out about the benefits of this and our other packages.
Got a question you can't answer? Our Start-up Business Advice line agents will answer a whole range of business questions through our dedicated, unlimited use helpline.