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Ask The Expert: Surviving The Holidays (And Thriving)! Part 1 of 2

Running a business can be challenging, but there is no reason not to benefit from the thousands of people who have already taken the plunge. As part of our continuing Expert series, we spoke today to small business owner-turned-motivational speaker Mandi Lunan.

Mandi Headshot
Mandi was founder, owner, and operator of Auntie Loo’s Bakery in Ottawa, Ontario: the very first vegan bakery in Eastern Ontario. She is now a business coach and motivational speaker under the name This Charming Mandi.

Question 1: Keeping your cool during the holiday rush

Hi Mandi, I’m a new restaurant owner facing down my first holiday season. What are some things I can do to make this time run smoothly for myself and my team?

- Joe, Restaurant Owner, Des Moines

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.

Christmas Street Quebec

Question 2: Meeting sky-high sales expectations

Mandi, everyone knows the holidays have the biggest potential revenues of the year. I’ve set huge goals for my sales over the holidays and I'm concerned we may fall short. How can I boost sales if they’re not meeting expectations?

-Alyssa, Business Owner, Dallas

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.

How Solink Helps 1
Solink gives owners a second set of eyes on their business by allowing owners to set-up notifications for certain sales and security events, and monitor all of their locations in real time using their existing camera and POS systems.

Question 3: Maintaining customer service during stress times

Mandi, I've worked in the restaurant industry for many holiday seasons--and have the scars to prove it! In the midst of the holiday rush, tempers flare and stress levels run high. How do I keep my staff providing best service when they’re overworked?

-Corey, Restaurant Owner, Colorado

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!

Click here for Part 2 of this great series!

Learn how Solink is revolutionizing how business uses video.

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