Preparing Your Business for the Fourth-Quarter Rush

The fourth quarter of the year, also known as Q4, is the busiest time for most businesses thanks to the upswing in purchases around the holidays. This major upswing in sales can be anxiety-inducing for most companies, but especially for small businesses that may not have the production means to fulfill their orders. And this is a big deal, as one third of small businesses say that Q4 is the biggest quarter of the year, and some businesses get up to 75% of their annual sales in this quarter.

We’ve got your back. Here are some amazing tips to help you prepare your business for the standard fourth-quarter rush.

Review Your Financials

Before you get into this rush, you want to make sure you are going to end the year on a high note or at least break even. Expect that there won’t be an uptick in sales and calculate what the fourth quarter will look like from the trends of the last three quarters. Look at your total sales minus the cost to make your goods. If you aren’t going to break even, it’s time to figure out what you can do to boost sales in the final quarter of the year.

Prepare Early

With increases in material demands, sometimes there can be supply chain issues and your materials won’t reach you in time—especially if everyone is ordering when you are. During the third quarter, try to see what you may be low on and order extra materials to meet this supply demand. There will most likely be a rise in orders, so you don’t want to be the reason you have to delay shipments. As long as it is a material that won’t go bad, you can always use it in the first quarter of the following year if you don’t use it all in quarter four.

If you run your small business through your home or a smaller space with limited inventory storage, ordering ahead may prove a problem with finding places to put your materials until you need them. This means you should look for somewhere else to keep your supplies. Look into commercial self storage to see if there is an optimal unit for your materials. If you make something that can be produced in a surplus, this is also a great place to store them until you are ready to start shipping them out.

Organize Your Office/Workplace

Amid an ordering frenzy, you want to be able to find anything you are looking for at any time. If you tend to be someone who lives life in disarray, you might want to start organizing your stuff at the end of the third quarter or the beginning of the fourth. The best way to know if your space is organized is the seat rule. You should be able to reach everything you need from sitting in your chair, meaning it should be within arm’s length.

Improve Your Marketing

If you need this push at the end of the year, it’s important to start building your marketing repertoire as soon as possible. Start trying A/B emails to see what performs better. Look at trends in the social media world and don’t be afraid to jump on some to boost your marketing and brand awareness. Make sure your product listings have the right keywords to help drive traffic to your page and boost your result on Google and other search engines. If you have to, spend a few dollars to bring on a marketing expert to help boost the drive to your business.

Look Back and Forward for Trends

Just like social media, the sales world is a never-ending stream of constantly changing trends. If you know of businesses that sell similar items to those that you do, start looking at what is flying off the shelves. What is being advertised on TV? Can you make a product similar to that for less money? Also, look back at what was popular recently. Everything is a cycle, and things come back time after time. Can you use your statistics from the first three quarters to know what might sell best in quarter four?

Don’t Stop Selling

Though it can seem like the fourth quarter is a great time to make deals and start clearing inventory for products you may want to bring on after the New Year, you should not wait to start pushing products. There are plenty of other fun times to make deals or present specials before the holiday rush hits. You can always use the money you make now to help improve inventory for the future.

Gather Promotions

Black Friday sales may be the most familiar kind of sale no matter where you live in the world. Even if you are someone who doesn’t celebrate the Western version of Christmas or other standard winter holidays, a Black Friday sale can be irresistible to almost anyone. Start planning your promotions and any other deals you want to have around Christmas now. The longer you have to prepare promotional information, the more you can use the information gathered from other marketing campaigns and improve your fourth-quarter promotions. Also, think about how you could bundle two or more products together to make some kind of deal for your customers.

Back Up Timelines

With fewer orders and a larger inventory, you likely only need a few days to send your products to your customers. However, when you have numerous orders with a shorter inventory or fewer hands to help, you likely won’t be able to get everything to your customers by your normal deadline. All delivery services will likely be overwhelmed by the increase in shipments as well. Don’t be afraid to back up delivery times on your website, social media, or promotional information to allow you plenty of time to get your products out the door.

Set Small Goals

It is important to set goals for your company, especially if you are worried about the financials. Setting goals for your business in quarter four is a great idea, but it is even better to set goals and find ways to attain them. You can’t expect to increase sales without finding ways to drive customers to your website. The goals you set should also be realistic. If you’ve only been moving fifty products out your door monthly, you can’t all of a sudden expect to move five hundred of them out the door.

Create Contingency Plans

If there is any constant in the world of business, it is that something will go wrong. When it does, you shouldn’t be caught without a plan. If you are always expecting the unexpected, you can accommodate any issue that may arise in the rush of the fourth quarter. Have backup shipping plans or find new ways to gather the materials that you need to create your products. If you prepare for the worst, you will always be ready or be happily surprised if nothing goes wrong.

Shore Up Your Business Storage

The fourth quarter can be a frenzy, especially in the last two months. With Black Friday sales and people buying gifts for their holiday season, it can be more than overwhelming to try and prepare for this time of year, especially if you are the owner of a small business. You may need to invest in better inventory storage at a storage facility near you, marketing campaigns, supplies, and carrier services. With the tips above, you should be more than prepared to tackle the increase in sales in the fourth quarter.