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Getting Your Small Business Ready For Spring

Plants in baskets in front of store window

Bundled up in sweaters, avoiding going outside to shovel the walkway…spring is likely a far off concept for Canadian small businesses. But when it comes to thinking and planning ahead, businesses need to stay on top of things in order to avoid an unfortunate last minute crunch. After all, a bit of advance preparation can go a long way when it comes to seasonal transitions.

Short Term Goals

Speak With Suppliers

As challenging as supply chain management is at the moment, it’s crucial that you speak with your suppliers as early as possible. Let them know what products and merchandise you need, but keep in mind the potential delays that may happen. As much as possible have a plan B, and even a plan C to help avoid any potential problems to the best of your abilities. While you’re at it, if you haven’t already done so, start planning for the following season beyond that as well.

Be transparent with your customers. At this point we’ve all heard about and experienced the difficulties of supply chain, so honesty is the best way to go. Let your customers know about any sudden changes which will affect stock or delays in purchases being received, and when you expect to have products. Then let them know when you have an update, when items have arrived, or when their item has been shipped. Consider including this information on your website and share it via your social media. This is also another benefit of having a customer newsletter so that you can send your customer base direct updates.

Staffing Plan

If the warmer months means you need more team members, don’t wait until you and your current team feel overwhelmed to start hiring. Part of business projections are figuring out staffing requirements throughout the year, including hiring temporary and seasonal employees to account for additional demand. For example, if you own a garage then you know first hand that the end of tire season requires additional manpower to keep up with demand. For restaurants with an outdoor space, this additional number of tables likely requires more servers in order to maintain your level of customer service.

 

Vase with tulips next to laptop

 

A Good Business Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is not solely for homes! For any type of physical location whether that’s a retail space, a restaurant, a salon, or even an office, a good clean goes a long way for both your customers and staff. If you have additional outdoor space that you use in the warmer months like a patio, be sure to do a thorough assessment to make sure it hasn’t sustained any damages during the winter. Then make any necessary repairs and give it a thorough cleaning. Same goes for any speciality signage that you put out during the warmer months.

Additionally make sure your business operations are in order, whether that’s your bookkeeping, payroll system, or banking. Go through your inventory (and stock room if you have one) and make sure your employees are equipped with what they need to properly do their jobs.

Dust Off Those Virtual Cobwebs

Don’t be fooled: spring cleaning is not only reserved for physical spaces, it also applies to your digital spaces. Consider an audit of the programs you’re using to run your business. Do they still serve you well, or is it time to consider making a change? Plus are you offering a variety of payment options in-store and online to properly meet your customers needs and expectations? And don’t forget to clean your hardware: monitors and computers have a habit of collecting dust inside and can lead to overheating as the temperature rises.

The same goes for your digital presence whether that’s your website or social media profiles. If you are looking to ramp up business, an appealing online presence is a must. Even if you don’t consider yourself technologically savvy, there are a variety of simple tools to help you create a website if you don’t already have one. If you have a website that shows signs of virtual cobwebs, don’t brush this issue under the rug. A bad website is equally if not more damaging than not having a website at all! Why? Because first impressions matter, and that often happens online.

A great place to start is to search your business online and see what comes up. Also ask a few trusted employees, friends, or family members to assess your online presence. Have them look over your website and social media profiles and give you feedback and then consider updates or a refresh as necessary.

 

Patio furniture outside a restaurant

 

Marketing – Make the Most of the Warmer Weather

Having recovered from the holiday season, and after having endured a long cold winter, give your customers another reason to be excited about spring: your business! This can mean a variety of things, whether it’s a special spring promotion, offering a new or limited edition product, service, or menu, or simply coming up with a strategy to ramp up your marketing efforts.

Regardless of your business type, think of ways you can promote spring’s arrival: if you’re a salon owner for example, celebrate that it’s no longer hat-hair season, if you’re a restaurant owner perhaps a special season dish featuring an in-season vegetable. Additionally check if there are any special calendar days of the year that your business can capitalize on such as a 4/20 promotion for cannabis businesses.

During the warmer months not only do people want to make the most of the weather, there are also additional opportunities to take advantage of. Depending on your type of business, research any upcoming local events that your business can either participate in such as festivals or fairs, or look to drum up business by sponsoring this type of event.

Achieving Longer Term Goals

With the arrival of Spring, summer’s arrival is just around the corner. That being said, businesses should not only plan season-to-season, but have a longer term strategy in mind. In addition to the tips already mentioned, think about what your goals are for six months, or one year from now.

Looking ahead, maybe you’ve been dreaming about building a new patio for your restaurant, or expanding your operation and opening a new location. Before you’re in the full swing of summer business, now is the perfect time to check off those business goals of yours.

 

computer and calendar with office supplies

Planning Starts Today

Whether it’s to help purchase inventory or equipment, invest in marketing, take on a renovation, build a new patio, or even open another location, no matter the industry Merchant Growth is here to help fund Canadian small businesses. With a variety of funding options available get in touch with us and we’ll help you find the right option for you and your business.

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