(Editor's Note: The following is a monthly column written by Calvin W. Goings, SBA Assistant Associate Administrator.)
Customers are starting to have visions of sugarplums and snowflakes; small business owners visualize increased sales. The holiday shopping season is just around the corner and according to the National Retail Federation’s Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent. Prepare now for the holiday rush. As customers prepare for holiday shopping, increase sales by ensuring they are walking through your small business’ doors in Mercer Island. Whether it’s financing your seasonal working capital needs, updating your marketing plan or hiring temporary workers, the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can be your guide to maximizing sales this holiday season.
Financing seasonal working capital needs?
If you need help meeting your short-term working capital needs, SBA’s CAPLines program can help. From contracting to purchase orders, CAPLines provides financing through a revolving line of credit. CAPLines can help small businesses manage their cash cycle, scale up and create jobs.
Hiring temporary or seasonal workers?
If you plan to hire temporary or seasonal workers, be aware that some of the laws and regulations that apply to full-time employees differ from those that apply to seasonal or part-time employees. Take time to review the publication Equal Employment Opportunities Law – Who’s Covered? It will help you determine whether a person is an independent contractor or an employee, and which is covered under federal laws. Remember, labor laws still apply to seasonal workers, as do some benefit and tax laws.
Need marketing tips?
Use your website and social media to promote your business – Online presence, email marketing, and social media networks are great ways to target and connect with local consumers during the holiday season, whether it’s through timely updates, compelling calls-to-action, promotions or discounts.
Host an Open House – Use the holiday season as an opportunity to “open” your business and give customers an opportunity to check out your merchandise or holiday menus.
Get Involved in Community and Charitable Events – Supporting a charity or sponsoring a community event is a great way to generate awareness for your business during the holidays. Think of ways to get involved, such as offering volunteer services, equipment or space.
The holiday season can be overwhelming for some small businesses. With strong sales, it’s also the season that can ensure you stay in business for the rest of the year. Remember, the SBA is here to help. Our goal is to provide the tools and resources for small businesses to start, grow and succeed. Visit SBA’s website www.sba.gov to learn more about preparing your small business for the holiday season or to find your local SBA office for one-on-one service.