I watch a lot of television, even commercials. One of my favorite ads features John and Kendall Antonelli, the personable and energetic owners of Antonelli’s Cheese Shop in Austin. To help small business owners navigate the holiday season, the Antonellis shared some of their top tips:
Navigating Inflation: According to a recent Capital One Business survey, inflation is a top worry for business owners.
- To navigate these concerns, make sure your product selection and mix are well-balanced and that you offer something for everyone.
- When you have to make pricing changes, consider tackling rising costs on a product-by-product basis vs. making sweeping price increases across the business. When you do make changes, it’s important to be open and transparent with customers about it.
Prioritizing Personal Well-being: Small business owners have been navigating the complicated hurdles brought on by the pandemic and so many other global factors, and another holiday season brings an added layer of stress. According to the Capital One Business survey, 48% of SBOs have felt burned out in the past month, and approximately 70% say they’ve experienced at least some mental, physical, or emotional exhaustion caused by the stress of running their business in the past year.
- To help prioritize mental well-being, it’s okay to say “no.” We tell ourselves to “make hay while the sun is shining” and skip all the extra activities and events during the holidays that we would typically say “yes” to. It’s also a good time of year to recommit to personal endeavors such as regular exercise, maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, and staying hydrated.
Plan for the worst—but stay optimistic: The survey also reveals that small business owners are still optimistic despite facing a range of challenges the past few years. [But staying that way during the busy holiday season takes advance planning.]
- We recommend doing as much advance planning, problem-solving, time management, and prioritization as possible. Our team held our first holiday planning meeting in May of this year. Each department lead outlined all their ongoing projects, and we determined which must get across the finish line ASAP and what can be tabled until next year.
Keeping up with demand: Suppliers and vendors are also extremely busy, and supply chain disruptions over the past year have only exacerbated inventory issues. In fact, 76% of SBOs are concerned about continued supply chain issues negatively impacting their business in the near term, according to the survey.
- Managing inventory ahead of the holiday season can be one of the biggest challenges for small businesses, especially those that sell perishable products. As the saying goes, ‘If you don’t have it, you can’t sell it!’—but figuring out how much inventory you need can be a guessing game. This time of year, our cash flow is at its lowest, as most of our money is sitting in inventory.
Photo courtesy of Antonelli’s Cheese Shop.