Five Ways to Prepare Your Business for the 2021 Holiday Rush

Early preparation is the key to success when it comes to holiday sales and closing out the year on a high note.

Newsweek Expert Forum members share industry insights.
Photos courtesy of the individual members.

With the holiday rush almost upon us, it's important for businesses to give themselves as much time as they can to prepare. The current labor shortages and supply chain delays impacting nearly every industry will likely increase during the holiday season, which could cause issues for businesses as they try to stock up for the season with inventory and additional staff.

However, there are key things that leaders can and should do now to ensure they're prepared and don't run into any delays. Below, five members of Newsweek Expert Forum offered their advice and shared some ways leaders can begin preparing for the holiday rush in advance.

1. Ensure Your Employees Give Their Best

It's not just about products, delivery times and stocks. Delivering what your customers want also depends on your employees giving their best. They will only do that if you have proactively asked for their help, if their leaders inspire them and if they trust those leaders and understand your customers. Then they will give their best, be agile to overcome problems and truly deliver. - Chris Roebuck, Simply Success

2. Be Transparent and Authentic

Transparency and authenticity are key. Ensure the team knows all the company is doing to prepare for both the expected and unexpected and what plans A, B and C are. Provide assurances wherever possible, without overpromising, to soothe any nerves. Also, ensure you are inviting all employees to express any concerns they have so you can hear and address them as individuals and operationally. - April Margulies, Trust Relations

3. Build Flexibility Into Your Plans

Be flexible on the type of products you're purchasing and build in more time for fulfillment. These challenges aren't going away after the holiday rush either. They will continue to impact operations in a myriad of ways. Identify potential hurdles, intentionally plan and amp up communications (internally and externally) to mitigate disappointment and frustrations. - Jacob Kupietzky, HCT Executive Interim Management & Consulting

4. Manage Your Stakeholders' Expectations

Leaders can prepare for the holiday rush by managing the expectations of all stakeholders. Customers need to be made aware of the volatility of pricing, availability and delivery. Vendors need to commit to logistics and costs. Finance, HR and team leaders need to prepare overtime budgets and the allocation of employees and shifts. Sales and marketing should conduct campaigns without overpromising. - Vipp Jaswal, Interpersonal Intelligence Advisory

5. Start Year-End Tax Preparations Early

Businesses will have more options available to them if they start their year-end tax preparations early this year. Companies often look to offset profits with equipment investments toward the end of the year, but that could be difficult to accomplish this year amid supply chain issues. If you're short-handed, the reduced payroll may leave you with more tax liability than expected. - Lisa Willauer, Fiondella, Milone & LaSaracina

The Newsweek Expert Forum is an invitation-only network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.
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