How a Business Owner Can Take a Vacation Like a True Boss

Many people aspire to be the boss so that they can control their own schedule and take off as much time as they want. However, the stark reality is that many owners don’t take vacations at all, year after year.

According to a recent survey, half of small business owners take an average of three days off per year, while 70% work on holidays, including Thanksgiving. The main excuse for lack of time off is that business owners don’t feel like their companies can survive or thrive without their presence and input.

However, not taking any time off leads to extreme stress, feeling burnt out, loss in productivity and a creativity block. In fact, lack of vacations can lead to depression, cognitive decline and even heart disease!

There are ways for all business owners to take a vacation with these tips:

Start Small

It’s probably not the best idea to take a two-week cruise where you will be fully inaccessible if you haven’t taken more than a day off in recent years. Instead, start small and train your staff and yourself to run the business without you little by little.

Start by giving yourself half-day Fridays when work permits, and leave after lunch to see how your staff does without you. If all goes well, take an entire day off, followed by a mini-vacation for just a few days.

Assess how your employees are able to handle responsibilities on their own, and how much they need to contact you to make decisions before taking a week off or more.

Designate a Leader

They say that when the cat’s away, the mice will play. This especially applies to the workplace, where employees feel they can give themselves luxuries they would never dream of when their boss is at the office.

This is why it’s vital to designate a leader in your absence who will be responsible for overseeing the workplace. Choosing a proven and trusted colleague will help you rest easier, and will let your employees know that work will resume as usual.

Limit Checking In

Although you may force yourself to get on a plane and jet to a new destination, you may not be as relaxed as you would expect when you return. That is because the majority of business owners can’t abstain from constantly checking in with their staff while on vacation.

It’s hard to lay on the beach or take an excursion when you’re constantly checking emails or  are on the phone. Plus, the more you make yourself available, the more your staff members will feel like they can reach out, even for non-vital matters.

Make it clear to your staff that you will only check in once every 24 hours, and that they can only defer to the leader if an emergency occurs and you need to be contacted sooner.

This will allow you to take true time off, while empowering your employees to make decisions without your input.

Slow Summers? Contact IOU Financial for a loan to help smooth cashflow, get winter inventory ready, or up your marketing efforts. We can approve you for up to $300,000 in just 24-48 hours.

 

Summer Refresh: Tips for Streamlining Your Business

While the summer months pick up business for some companies, it slows it down for others. Regardless if you fall into the first or second category, this season is the perfect time to refresh your business practices to streamline your company.

Halfway into the year, it is advantageous to set objectives in place that can be beneficial for the rest of the year, or strategize to plan for goals for the upcoming year. Review the ideas below to see what you can implement to streamline your company.

Review Goals vs. Accomplishments

As a business owner, it is important to set goals for yourself, your employees and your business every year. Most people do this before the year ends, making resolutions for the following year.

You may have intended to automate the customer service process, but simply have not gotten around to it. Or, you may have rolled out the program, but haven’t surveyed the customers or the employees to gather feedback about the progress.

Don’t wait until all 12 months go by to revisit those goals. The middle of the year is an important time to review what you set out to accomplish and mark your progress. This will allow you the opportunity to make changes to the status quo if you are not on track to meet your goals, rather than abandoning the tasks altogether.

Work With Your Team

Don’t forget to involve your colleagues in the process of streamlining your company. First, it’s important to review their progress as well and not wait until the year end to hold appraisals. Consider doing so at least twice a year to discuss the plans you had made in the previous year and evaluate your employees’ performance thus far.

When you meet with your staff members regularly instead of annually, it gives you an opportunity to discuss recent errors or mistakes and a bigger chance to fix them before performance truly starts to affect productivity.

On the other hand if your employees are exceeding their objectives, you will be able to recognize their efforts and show them that you value their hard work. This will empower them to work ever more efficiently and be loyal to your team.

In addition to appraisals, remember that your employees are the ones carrying out the daily tasks in your company. As such, they can give you the best ideas and advice about making efficient changes to your business. Hold regular meetings and reward those that offer innovative ideas that can help make your business more efficient.

Stay Organized

It’s difficult to run a business; one of the most common complaints from business owners is the fact that they never have enough time in the day. To be more productive and waste less time, it’s vital to stay organized.

Make sure you start summer off with a major spring clean of your office or job site. Although we are not talking about washing the floors, it’s helpful to look through the files, documents and other items in your office to decide what you can toss or recycle and what you need to keep.

Organize your files, both physical and electronic, as well as emails to make them easy to access and share with others.

Create a weekly schedule for yourself and your team, which you can re-evaluate daily to move the more pressing items to the top of the list. This will carve out the time you need to deal with top level tasks, leaving the less important matters for a later time.

There are countless ways you can streamline your business to take it to the next level. If you feel that financial help can help you achieve your goals, contact IOU Financial. We work with small and medium-sized businesses to offer secure, fast and easy small business loans. Call us today at 1-866-217-8564 or visit us online at www.ioufinancial.com to learn more.

 

Tax Checklist for Business Owners

Tax season is no reason to panic if you plan in advance. Owners of small business should take steps, whether they do their own tax preparation or use a CPA. Here’s a checklist of important preparatory actions:

Bookkeeper:

If you use a bookkeeper, set up a meeting, even if she doesn’t prepare tax returns. She probably knows the answers to most of your questions and can ensure all your accounts from the previous year are fully reconciled. Your balance sheet should reflect any addition or disposal of assets.

Mileage log:

If you use a vehicle for business, make sure your mileage log is complete and up to date. If you don’t have a smartphone app that automatically logs mileage, get one and use it. Failure to keep a log can cost you an important deduction.

Bank statements:

Gather all your bank statements for the tax year, and use them to ensure your balance sheet balances match bank balances.

Out-of pocket-expenses:

You need to recognize business expenses you paid with personal accounts and credit cards. These are deductible even if you didn’t use a business account. Scan your personal credit card and bank statements to identify business expenses to file on your Schedule C or corporate tax return. Then, before the end of the year, write reimbursement checks from your business bank account to your personal account to capture the deductions. If you miss the end-of-year deadline, debit your expense account and credit an equity account.

Personal expenses:

You need to make sure you don’t deduct personal expenses paid for by a business account. This can sometimes happen if you grab the wrong credit card. Either repay the business for these expenses of enter a transaction to debit an equity account and credit to your checking or credit card account.

Received 1099s:

Gather all your 1099s, including the credit-card-related 1099-Ks. The IRS doesn’t look kindly upon taxpayers who don’t declare all their income, which is what 1099s report. PayPal, Stripe and all other payment processors prepare 1099-Ks for payments of $20,000 or more, or if you receive more than 200 payment transactions per year. Never declare less gross income than the sum of your 1099 receipts.

Issued 1099s:

If you made payments to contractors, consultants and other non-employees, you need to issue them 1099s for amounts greater than $600. But don’t issue 1099s if you paid via a credit card or payment processor, because they will issue 1099-Ks. Check with your bookkeeper to ensure you have issued all required 1099s.

Asset purchases:

Pull the receipts for your purchases of business assets such as cars, furniture, computers and any other items that you expect to last at least one year and cost more than $500. You might have to depreciate assets worth more than $2,500 instead of expensing them, and you also might qualify for Section 179 deductions and bonus depreciation.

Interest:

Remember to deduct your interest expenses. Even though IOU Financial charges low interest rates, every penny of interest is deductible, so take advantage of this gift from Washington. Tax-deductible interest lowers the after-tax cost of borrowing, so keep that in mind when you need cash from IOU Financial, your source for business loans.

Marketing Ideas for Spring

Spring is a time for new growth and new opportunities! Retail business owners should consider ways to market their companies or products during this season. After the cold winter months when many people stay indoors, spring is the time to focus on attracting new customers and keeping your current ones loyal with strategies to boost profits. Utilize these marketing ideas to jumpstart your sales during the spring season.

Focus on the Holidays

People love holidays, and one great strategy to market your brand is to tie it to a well known event. There are a multitude of options during the spring—major holidays such as Easter, Mother’s Day and Passover, and less known ones, such as Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

Just so you know—”last year, U.S. consumers spent an estimated $17.2 billion for Easter, $20.7 billion on Mother’s Day, and $13.3 billion on Father’s Day,” a source explains.

To attract clientele to your retail location, consider putting on a holiday-inspired event inside your store. If your business is family-friendly, you can advertise an Easter celebration with a bunny, an egg scavenger hunt and other child-centered activities. If your store is more adult-oriented, you can hold a more sophisticated event with music and light bites.

Let the public know about your celebration and you will attract new foot traffic from people who may never have heard about your business and gain new customers for life!

Spring Cleaning

Spring is a time to get rid of the old and focus on the new. It provides a chance to analyze your inventory of products that are not selling as well or no longer serve your brand image and hold a blow out sale.

If you advertise a sale, chances are you will boost your profits for the quarter while getting rid of overstocked items.When discounting items, create a price ending in 9, such as “$23.99” or “19,” as research has found that this strategy increases sales by 24%!

Tax Season

Another important event happening during the springtime is National Tax Day. It is estimated that about two thirds of individuals expect tax refunds during April. This is a perfect opportunity for retail business owners to encourage customers to spend that cash!

A great incentive to attract shoppers to your location is to offer a free item or discount with proof of filed taxes. Or, celebrate Tax Day by waiving taxes on purchases in your store on April 15th!

Marketing Strategies

With holidays, spring cleaning sales and tax season as three main ideas you should consider for the season, you will need to plan on actual ways to market them, which can include:

  • In-home mailers
  • Marketing emails
  • Ads in the local paper
  • Social media advertising
  • Sponsorships
  • Handing out leaflets
  • Leaving ad materials in other local businesses (cross sponsorship)

Start planning now on how to put the spring marketing ideas into motion. IOU Financial is ready to provide financial assistance to help you grow your business. Contact us today at www.ioufinancial.com.

Four Proven Marketing Tips for Restaurants to Implement During the Holidays

The holidays are a joyous and busy time for many, but some restaurants owners see a decline in business during the winter months. One source found that as many as 61% of restaurants reported a decline of up to 20% in patrons and sales during this time.

There are a multitude of reasons that sales can be down, ranging from cold weather which discourages patrons from leaving their homes and times spent indoors with family rather than out and about. A holiday decline does not have to affect your restaurant, however, if you strategize with carefully crafted marketing holiday marketing tips to drive customers to your business!

Holiday-Themed Menu

People love to feel festive during the holidays, which is why adding a holiday-themed menu can draw people to your restaurant. Consider offering family-friendly meals that your patrons can eat in or take to enjoy at home. Offering family-sized meals makes it convenient for your customers to quickly order without having to deliberate on what items and amounts to get.

Add holiday-themed foods to your menu to appeal to your patrons’ palates! Holiday favorites, such as turkey, egg nog and stuffing are always a hit! Get creative with adding items and ingredients that your customers may not be familiar with to surprise them and keep them guessing!

Appeal to the smallest patrons by offering foods that can excite them, such as specialty-shaped foods (sandwiches shaped like Christmas trees!), holiday cookies and other treats shipped from the North Pole.

Holiday-Themed Activities

Help your patrons get in the spirit by adding a holiday feel to your restaurant. You can choose specific nights to throw special holiday parties which feature holiday music and a winter wonderland decor.

If you have a family-friendly restaurant, encourage your customers to bring their kids by planning a visit from Santa Claus, as well as arts and craft activities, such as making holiday cards. Advertising a free photo with Santa with every family meal can help your customers save on holiday photos and instead spend their money in your restaurant.

Holiday Specials

The holidays are an expensive time when most of us shop for gifts for family and friends. Help ease the financial burden your patrons may be facing by offering holiday specials and coupons that they will surely appreciate.

Consider tying in an exclusive discount with a charitable cause, which is always important to remember during the holidays. Ask your customers to stop by and leaved canned food for a local food bank or used clothes for a nearby shelter. In exchange for their donation, you can offer a discount on their food purchase or a free item (a drink or dessert) in addition to a paid meal.

Marketing

Once you figure out your holiday menu, decor, activities and specials, you need to share that information with your target audience so that they can be informed about what is going on at your restaurant. Consider the best ways to get their attention and how best to spend your marketing budget.

If your restaurant is located in an area with high traffic, putting up a large sign or poster may suffice. Otherwise, sending in-home mailers to your local patrons or sending out emails through your customer database can be effective.

To stand out from the competition, consider unique ways that you can grab your customers’ attention and encourage them to frequent your business. This can include funny holiday cards to make them laugh or bold online campaigns.

Should you need help to invest in marketing or making your restaurant holiday-friendly, IOU Financial is happy to help. We offer hassle-free small business loans of up to $300,000 in as little as 24-48 hours. Visit our website to get more details about how we can help your restaurant thrive during the holidays and all year round!

3 Things you can do NOW to Avoid Tax Headaches Next Year

As the days are winding down at the end of the year, it may be tempting to relax and start planning for time off during the holidays. However, business owners should know by now that there is rarely time to relax when running their business. The end of the year is actually the perfect time to get busy and plan now to avoid tax headaches next year. We recommend three things to consider doing now to ease the burden come next April.

Incorporate Ways to Boost Accounting Efficiency

For most business owners, the most difficult part of doing taxes is preparing for them. Gathering receipts, calculating the cost of doing business and counting your profits takes up a lot of time. Losing or forgetting important documents that represent spending or profits can lead to mistakes on taxes and a big headache for you.

How can you streamline the process of preparing for taxes? By reconsidering how you conduct your administrative services and incorporating new ways to boost efficiency. For example, instead of writing paper checks and balancing your checkbook, switch to sending electronic checks straight from your bank account. Not only will this save you the price of a stamp, but it will also help you track all of your spending via your bank account in one place.

Purchasing an accounting program, such as Quickbooks, is another advantageous strategy that allows you to regularly update all of your financial information, spending and earning, in order to generate reports when filing your taxes. 

Automate Your Payroll System

How do you pay your employees? If you do so manually, you are not only wasting valuable time, but you may make mistakes that can prove to be troublesome for you and your staff. To increase productivity and eliminate errors, invest in an automated payroll system which pays your employees through a computerized system.

A special payroll system will calculate wages based on employee agreements (hourly pay or salary) and generate paychecks as well arranging direct deposits.

The first tax benefit of an automated payroll system is that it is a safe place to store payroll records that doesn’t take up any space. Remember that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) dictates that employment tax records must be kept for at least four years!

The second benefit of this system is that it makes it easy to accurately withhold necessary deductions, such as state income, social security and Medicare taxes. Utilizing the system’s hard-coded tax rates, you eliminate payroll tax errors come tax time.

Finally, the payroll system syncs with your accounting system to provide accurate reports whenever you need them.

Save for Business Taxes

The end of the year is the right time to approximate how much small business taxes you may be liable for. Print or create a profit and loss statement to reflect your financial situation; once you have this information, you can count how much taxes you may be responsible for.

This will help avoid unpleasant surprises come tax time, and will help you save the required amount to pay off the taxes. Remember that the IRS also offers convenient payment plans if you cannot pay the full amount by the due date.

If you need help affording a payroll and/ or accounting system or require financial assistance to pay off your business taxes, turn to IOU Financial. Our hassle-free small business loans of up to $300,000 can be in your bank account in under 48 hours! Contact us today!

4 Proven Ways your Business can cut Costs this Holiday Season

It’s no secret that the holiday season can be a stressful one for business owners. Although it is a time to reflect, be grateful and celebrate, some businesses see a decline in sales, which, coupled with typical employee raises and bonuses during this time, can make it a financially burdensome time for owners. However, there are ways your business can cut costs this holiday season with these four proven strategies:

Adjust Employee Schedules

While some companies experience their busiest seasons during this time, others aren’t so lucky. Colder weather prevents many people from shopping and dining out, while holidays encourage others to spend time with family indoors.

It’s not uncommon to enter a store, restaurant or hair salon during November, December and January to find them empty. There is no reason to commit to paying salaries when there is no business, which is why you should plan to adjust your staff’s schedules during this time.

Analyze your past few years and determine your slowest times and how many employees you actually need working at a time. Just be sure to provide your staff with enough warning so that they are not surprised about their reduced hours.

Cut Down or Eliminate Your Holiday Party

Holiday parties are annual traditions for many businesses, but they can also get expensive. Although it is important to show your employees how much you appreciate them during this time, consider ways to do more cost effectively.

Instead of taking out your staff members to a restaurant or renting out a banquet hall, move the festivities to your office or business space. A meeting room or lunch area can be enough space to share a meal.

Instead of catering food, ask your employees to bring in their favorite dish, arranging a potluck. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can still cut costs by hosting a breakfast instead of a dinner. Bringing in bagels and cream cheese is a lot more affordable than catering dinner!

Introduce Secret Santa

Business owners always want to make their employees feel special by showering them with gifts around the holiday time. Even if you try to be frugal, these expenses add up to be hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

Try something different this year to cut costs by introducing Secret Santa. Write down all of your employees’ names on pieces of paper and put them in a bucket or hat. Ask each staffer to pull out a name and purchase a present for that person. Set limits on the presents to be no more than $20 or $40 each. This way, every individual in your company goes home with a gift, but your company has saved a significant amount of money.

Focus on Free Marketing

One of the most expensive strategies during the holidays tends to be marketing. Businesses that offer specials during this time want to spread the word to their customers, and the way to do that is through marketing.

To be cost sensitive during this time, consider ways to market without breaking the bank. For example, you can email holiday cards and announcements to your customers absolutely free instead of spending funds on printing and mailing them!

If you have tried all of these strategies, but are still finding it difficult to sustain your business during the holiday time, turn to IOU Financial. We make it a priority to support small and medium-sized companies with easy loans up to $300,000. You can get funded in as little as 24-48 hours.

Getting Your Finances Organized Before the Holidays

It happens every year. The holiday season is suddenly upon you, and yet your business is not in optimal condition to take full advantage of this very special time of the year – shopping season!

Getting an Early Jump

The best way to extract maximum profits from holiday shopping is to have a large inventory of items that will be hot sellers in the last two months of the year. To some extent, this can be a test of your predictive powers, because normally you will have to decide what to order, and then order it, about six months in advance if you want to be sure of receiving what promises to be the season’s blockbusters.

Therefore, you must combine budgetary and marketing data to make reasonable forecasts of:

  1. How much sales volume I want to achieve during the holidays?
  2. What merchandize do I want to stock this holiday season?
  3. How aggressively can I set prices to fight for holiday sales?
  4. How should I spruce up the shop to get customers into the holiday buying mood?
  5. Will I need temporary workers, and if so, how many and what types?
  6. How will I store the early shipments of holiday merchandise I receive? Will I need to rent temporary warehouse space?

There are many other questions you can ask, but this is a good start.

The outcome of this brainstorming should be any changes to your 12-month budget, laid out month by month.

Strengthen Your Working Capital

Next, examine your current debt situation. Do you owe money from last year? What interest rate are you paying on existing debt? What’s happened to interest rates in the last 12 months? Check your working capital situation – you’ll need plenty of cash and credit to finance holiday inventory, but you don’t want to spend a lot of time managing accounts payable for a lot of different vendor accounts. With sufficient cash on hand, you can pay vendors right away and benefit from purchase discounts. The answer is to consolidate your debt through a low-cost commercial loan. It’s much easier to manage a single creditor rather than contend with demands from a gaggle of vendors and creditors. That way you don’t have to spend much time figuring payments, because we will debit small amounts every day from your bank account. This removes the pain and worry you might feel if you had to face a large monthly payment.

To order sufficient inventory in, say, June, when sales may be weaker due to the summer doldrums, may put quite a strain on your working capital at precisely the wrong time. The easiest solution is a business loan form a commercial lender such as IOU Financial. By consolidating your old loans and adding fresh borrowings to the mix, you have the opportunity to optimize your debt and your working capital for the upcoming holiday season.

Get Your Technology Up to Speed

If you are not happy with your current accounting and point-of-sale software, well before holiday season is the time to either fix it or replace it. If you find any part of your current system holding you back from tracking real-time sales, shipping and restocking activity, it might be time for new solutions. You will also want to ensure you have installed the new chip-card readers throughout your store, so that you bypass any liability for fraud caused by lost, stolen or counterfeit credit/debit cards. Estimates are of about $450 to install each new card-reading terminal, so make sure you figure this expenditure into your budget.

The bottom line – you want to have sufficient funds ahead of the holiday season in order to optimize your revenues once the end-of-year frenzy gets under way. If you need any additionally working capital, contact IOU Financial and learn how quick and easy it is to whip your finances in shape for the lucrative holiday season.

Four Proven Marketing Strategies for the Holidays

The holiday season is the perfect time for businesses to attract new clientele and connect with existing customers. With buyers scouring for Christmas presents, many stores experience a significant surge in sales. Service-oriented companies, such as gyms and beauty salons, report an influx of new customers around January, when people make New Year’s resolutions to get in shape or become better versions of themselves. All in all, the holidays are a great time to market your services to potential customers by utilizing the following four proven strategies:

Charitable Giving

Thanksgiving and Christmas are popular times for donations to local shelters, philanthropic organizations and community events. Companies can combine doing a good deed with a marketing advantage by making a donation to a charity or sponsoring a local soup kitchen event.

Allowing the community to associate your company’s name with giving creates a positive view of your brand, encouraging them to shop with you during the following year.

Holiday Cards

Everyone loves getting a holiday card from a friend or family member, but there is no rule that holiday cards can’t be sent from businesses. Realtors are already aware of this strategy, sending holiday cards to potential and past clients to increase loyalty and foster customer relationships.

Sending holiday cards to your existing roster of clients and surrounding residents creates an emotional connection between you and your customers, which has been proven to increase brand loyalty and increase sales.

Keep in mind that your customers may celebrate different religious holidays, so sending a generic holiday card rather than one specific for Christmas may be more advantageous to avoid offending anyone.

Utilize Holiday-Themed SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) should always be a priority in your marketing campaign. The holidays are a great time to re-evaluate your target keywords and add holiday-themed alternatives to help potential clients find you.

Keywords such as “holiday gifts,” “unique Christmas presents,” “ugly sweaters” and “corporate holiday gifts” trend around the end of the year. Utilize these keywords in your pay-per-click (PPC) Google campaigns and in the content of your website and blogs to capitalize on seasonal searches.

Holiday Events

People love to attend holiday events where they feel jolly and get in the spirit of the holiday season. This is the perfect time for businesses to open their doors, encouraging new clients to learn more about them and regular clients to feel appreciated.

Consider hosting an annual holiday party for your top customers to wine and dine them and help them feel valued by your company. You can also host a holiday open house at a salon, store or restaurant attracting families with a visit and photos with Santa and his elves, free cookie decorating events and carolling.

Whatever event you plan for your business, focus on using that time to help visitors connect with your company, learn more about your products and services and create an emotional connection with your brand.

The holiday season can be a strenuous time for business owners as it calls for a lot of expenses. IOU Financial is committed to helping you during this and any other time with an affordable business loan. Get instant pre-approval and funding in as little as 24-48 hours!

Should My Business Participate in Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday (CM), the Monday after Thanksgiving that promotes online shopping, has become almost as important as Thanksgiving and Black Friday in terms of holiday sales. In 2016, CM sales increased by 12.1 percent year over year, reaching a volume of $3.45 billion. That’s a higher sales volume than experienced on 2016 Black Friday. There is nothing to prohibit online sellers from participating throughout the Thanksgiving holiday, but CM is the day set aside for the biggest online promotions. The question of whether your small business should aggressively compete for CM business turns on several considerations:

What is your online presence?

If you don’t have a website, or if the website has problems, it’s getting late to make it work right. You certainly don’t want to be out there on CM with an untested or buggy site – it’s much better to perfect the website before using it. You’ll be better off by opening a page on Etsy or Amazon this year and then promote your website next yet.

What do you sell?

The extended Thanksgiving selling season favors products over services, with perhaps the exception of travel. Certain merchandise has historically seen strong sales on CM, such as laptops, cellphones, data storage, clothing, and beauty products. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t participate on CM with different types of merchandise – it’s ultimately your call.

Can you afford CM?

The purpose of CM is to achieve a sales spike. That means you might need extra merchandise and extra labor. Depending on your size, this might not be a major consideration. However, if you are a bigger business, you might have to prepare for CM by purchasing extra inventory and hiring additional part-time workers. If you anticipate significant costs in this regard, consider taking a loan from IOU Financial – the terms are fair, the money is available quickly, and you repay a small amount in daily or weekly increments instead of facing a largely monthly payment.

Can you absorb promotion costs?

Sure, on CM you can sell your most popular items for 90 percent off and make a big splash. Can you afford such an aggressive promotion? Is it overkill, or is it a reasonable response to your competitors? Do you sell a product mix that encourages repeat shopping? If so, getting folks to place their first online order with you might be worth an upfront loss. On the other hand, if you give away the store, you might not survive until next year’s CM. It comes down to sales projections, budgets, and cash. You can prepare for just about any promotion if you start early enough, but spontaneous last-minute promotions might leave you in a cash crunch.

Engage social media.

Activate your pages on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn and so forth to promote your CM sales. Ads on these pages are cheap and can be very effective. If you maintain a customer email list, prepare to ramp up a few days before Thanksgiving and again on CM. Services like MailChimp can help you set up and execute an email strategy – it’s not expensive but requires some preparation, so don’t wait until the last minute.

Try to establish closer relationships with new customers:

Hopefully, your CM promotions will draw in first-time customers. Besides adding them to your mailing list, do something extra to help cement your relationship with them. You might send them special offers or coupons as a thank you for shopping with you.

If you fit the CM profile, go for it! After all, you do want to increase sales, don’t you? Need to get a handle on your budget before the big day? Check out our Business Budget Smart Sheet.