The last week or so has seen a string of signature TV ads released from major retailers as we enter the last 6 full weeks before Christmas. For many businesses Christmas is less a christian festival of joy to be celebrated, than an obstacle to be negotiated. Here are some tips to turn the obstacle to your advantage.
Once a year we all hit the immovable object that is Christmas. Unlike other holidays, it is totally fixed and carries with it special jeopardies that dominate both the Christian and secular worlds.
The tradition of the giving of presents, cards etc to family, customers and clients adds whole new levels of stress into a deadline that everyone has to conform to. This is also true of other faiths living in the Christian, or secular world, because in countries like the UK, the festival affects the environment around everyone – whether you like it or not.
In particular, Christmas creates weird distortions in the business world. For business to consumer type sales, the run up to Christmas is an essential proportion of annual income and this is especially true if you are selling any sort of goods that might make good gifts.
For business to business (B2B) type sales, Christmas can have the opposite effect, slowing down cash flow and blocking the sales pipeline. For the B2B businesses Christmas is therefore more often a threat, or at least a hindrance, to normal operations.
Quite apart from the cash flow issues that can hit B2B businesses over the Christmas period, the other jeopardy is the short month and the need to do so much more in the 3 weeks at the start of December to make up for losing between one and two weeks(depending upon how the calendar falls) at the end. With Christmas day falling on a Thursday this year, it looks like the last week and a half of December will be lost to many businesses.
If this all sound a bit Scroogie, then let me add a bit of light. As with all threats, they can be often be turned in to opportunities with a bit of careful thought. Christmas is no different. Yes a week and a half of lost productivity is problematic, but enforced idleness can often be a good thing. It is no coincidence that many new businesses are launched after holidays. Idle time can be a good time to reflect, review, change tack or even go off in a whole new direction.
At the very least, the idle time can be used to review how the business projects itself into the world – the public face of the business and perhaps how it interacts with customers and prospects. This inevitably leads to a review of the company website.
As an internet services business, it is still remarkable to us how many lost opportunities there are in the online world. Using online technology can be a great way to leverage the ability and reach of personnel working in the business. Do more with less in other words.
It can also be a great way to enhance the business brand, to improve the customer service without necessarily adding more personnel. In a time of restricted finances and skills shortages this can be a useful way forward.
At the very least, the information on the website can be reviewed and adjusted to reflect the business as it is now, not two or more years ago when the website was last seriously updated. As part of this you might also want to consider how your customers want to view the information. Have you noticed recently that more and more of your customers are carrying smartphones and tablets these days?
It might be worth considering that both existing and new customers will be viewing your website on smartphone or tablet devices and whether the website is responsive enough to be up to the job. For example, whether the information can be viewed and navigated easily, or whether it feels like looking at the website through a letter box.
Christmas is a peak time for both smartphone and tablet sales, if the mobile issue was important in 2014, it will be even more so in 2015.
You might also want to consider a new section, or a even a new website to reflect a new business idea that you just want to try out. Suck it and see for a few months to see what comes back. Perhaps even combine the initiative with a bit of online promotion to see what effect that will have.
None of this is advocating leaving the festivities, drinking or eating less, or even bah humbug. However, the time will be there to be used. It does not have to be hard work, but it is an opportunity that is there to be taken.
If you would like more information about reviewing website content, look and feel and especially the mobile market, then why not get in touch for an informal no obligation initial consultation.