Solink: What is the most important thing to consider when managing a business near the holidays?
Mandi: Delegation is key. I find a really big issue is giving up control and thinking of self care as a luxury when it should be a strategy. By delegating to your employees, you’re making sure you’re rested and able to function. This ensures that you’re gonna come through the holiday season on the other side with profits and your sanity.
S: What is the best way to boost sales if they’re not meeting expectations?
M: Sales contests can be done quickly and easily through social media, and people love them! I’ve also had great success by cross-marketing with a business peer who is doing better than you are, and who supports your success. That never hurts, especially if they have a big following and you’re kinda new: piggybacking on a trusted brand is a really good way to build up new clients.
S: How do you keep your staff motivated and happy when it gets busy?
M: I use little things I call, “the latte factor” or, “the pizza factor”: bring in treats, let them choose the music they want to listen to, etc. Be closed on Christmas and Boxing Day, and pay them on those days–maybe give them a cash bonus if sales are really exceptional. Try to keep things fun and light!
Make sure staff are resting and not working too hard. At my bakery, we kept a Christmas tree and if you were getting really stressed out I’d say “Go look at the tree for a while, get some tea and remove yourself from the situation.” Failing that, if you do have staff with anxiety problems–I have anxiety problems, part of what I blog and talk about is being an entrepreneur with anxiety problems–there’s so many cool little apps now, like Headspace and Calm, and they actually have little 5-minute interval exercises for just that situation.
Again, don’t forget to rest yourself! Like parents, owners always put themselves last, but if you’re not healthy, you can’t run your business!