It is only 10 weeks until Christmas and 11 weeks to 31 Dec, so time is running out for you to make sure that you finish this year on a high and also have a flying start to sales to 2013. Many of you will have already finished your 2013 plans and targets, for some of you it will be work in progress. But if the time has slipped away from you how can you get back on track, and fast?
So with Christmas fast approaching, which business goose is getting fat? It should be yours, because you don't want to be this years Turkey!! The fat gooses are the businesses that recognise that many businesses (including your competitors) wind down in mid-December and don't wake up again until mid-January. That's one 12th of your trading year so, keeping your foot on the gas is crucial to not only maintaining, but also increasing sales during this period.
Many companies budget for lower sales in both December and January because of this "shutdown" but there is no reduction in overheads or salaries that you have to pay even in those "down-times". In essence, the remaining 10 months have to subsidise the overheads for December and January.
So what can you do?
1. Really understand what your break-even point is to cover monthly outgoings. Worst case scenario is that you have to break even.
2. Review your sales budget now, adjust upwards if necessary.
3. Review stock levels and your capacity, plus the resource that is needed to hit the sales target.
4. Determine what is in your sales pipeline and the probability of closing those sales. If there is not enough to hit your sales target then you need to focus on getting those sales in.
5. Start filling the sales funnel now for early sales in the New Year – next month it may be too late!
6. Make sure that you have the right people resource available - you're in trouble if everyone is going off on holiday! Do you need to restrict holidays?
7. Whatever happens you need to keep everyone focused on getting the job done and that means closing sales. Don't be a humbug but don't let the focus drift in the run up to the festive period?
Focus on closing out December on a high (exceeding sales) and getting a full pipeline for January and February – don't forget momentum is everything. Get ready to capitalise on your competitor’s winter slowdown.
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