2017 has proven testing for many entrepreneurs. Factors such as low growth, rising petrol prices, a drought in parts of the country and a negatively adjusted rating in investment grades have all contributed to a more strained consumer, a tough business climate and minimal economic growth. As the year comes to a close, SMEs will have to make the most of the festive season to build cash reserves for the year ahead.
Mags Ponnan, head of customer value propositions at FNB Business, reckons that SMEs have to “box smart” to stay ahead this festive.
“Consumer spending will not go away, however people may simply spend more consciously than in previous years. To stay ahead, entrepreneurs must go into the festive with a clear plan.”
Ponnan, shares tips on how SMEs can be best positioned for a profitable festive:
1. Have a clear strategy ahead of the festive season
Ensure your stock levels are considered, placed in advance and arrange adequate storage capacity. Suppliers may also close for the season so a clear plan will ensure that you maintain correct stock levels.
2. Make use of communications platforms to let consumers know your season specials
SMEs do not have to spend an arm and a leg to reach the consumer. You can make effective use of social media platforms to reach consumers with your specials for the season. This not only allows a cost effective form of communication, it also enables a two way conversation where the SME is able to receive feedback from consumers on what they think of the specials.
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3. Keep your outlet open longer
Many consumers are on leave, they will therefore be spending longer hours in stores, being open for longer extends the possibility of a higher footfall into your store this season.
4. You must have an online presence
More and more consumers search for offers online, they do product comparisons, endorsements and even purchase online. To not be available online in the digital age is to impede on the extent of possible sales.
“SMEs must remember that the competition for a share of consumers’ spending power intensifies in tough times. Businesses that have prepared long in advance are bound to win in the festive season,” concludes Ponnan.