As a toy retailer everyone expects that my busy season is December. They would be wrong.
December is the store’s busy season. My busy season is right now. Here is my October To-Do List:
- Place all my orders for product I expect to sell in December. If I wait too much longer, many of the best items will already be sold out.
- Hire and train my seasonal staff. This involves writing and placing ads to attract applicants, weeding through all of the applications, scheduling and doing interviews, doing background and reference checks, setting up a training schedule, updating the employee handbook, and doing the actual training. It also includes refresher courses for the regular staff.
- Place orders for all selling supplies. I need to make sure I have plenty of bags, giftwrap, price tags, receipt paper, toilet paper, paper towels, layaway string, tape, etc. to get through the holidays. Do it now or forget and not have it when you need it.
- Prepare my marketing campaign. I need to write/create/produce/schedule all of our marketing for November and December. This includes promotional events like Neighborhood Toy Store Day, the Downtown Christmas Parade, Discover Downtown Again Day, and the Toys for Tots Breakfast. This also includes writing radio ads and planning a Facebook campaign.
- Carefully plot out cash flow. The money rolls in during December. The money rolls out during October and November as we stock up for the holidays. That means I have to pay close attention to every penny I spend.
- Clean up. The entire store needs a fresh and thorough dusting. Displays need to be upgraded or moved out. Merchandising needs to be plotted and planned for all the new products coming in.
Yes, my busy season is right now. After I accomplish all those things over the next few weeks I’ll have plenty of free time in December to do what I do best – sell toys.
PS I wrote this list as much for MY benefit as for YOURS. For me, it is a reminder to stay focused on the tasks at hand. For you it is a reminder of all the things you need to do to make this the most successful selling season ever.