Why small businesses should always be one season ahead

With January now well under way, have you started thinking about how seasonality could affect your business this year?

If not, don’t worry. In today’s post, the retail merchandising experts from shop4pop.com are on hand to break down some of the crucial reasons that 2017’s seasonal calendar could mean big things for your business – offering advice on how you can make the next 12 months your most fruitful yet.

Competition is fierce

As small businesses know, growing your business won’t happen overnight. Corporate giants are using big budgets to target your ideal customers, so you’ll need to take a creative approach to keep pace with industry leaders. From piggybacking on seasonal events with a time-sensitive content calendar to hiring additional staff for busier periods, it pays to be organised when it comes to seasonal marketing.

A seasonal event can be a hugely profitable exercise for businesses operating in the retail sector – but if your B2C company falls outside of this niche, there are other ways your business could benefit. Whether you always have your eye on the year ahead or break down your calendar into quarterly plans, it’s crucial to keep one eye on the longer term – while keeping the other fixed on any impending events relevant to your industry.

Planning in advance will afford your business the time to consider last year’s holiday trends. If being an authoritative figure in your industry is something you aspire to, staying one step ahead of the seasonal calendar is a great way to comment on recent trends and highlight any predictions for the coming months. From taking social media influencers into account to analysing seasonal consumer behaviour, reflecting on trends from the previous 12 months will help to shape your plans for the coming year – while positioning you as an authority on topics that matter to your audience.

Related: How to plan a seasonal marketing campaign

Employee engagement comes first

A committed and engaged workforce is the lifeblood of any enterprise – so before tackling your next marketing campaign, ask yourself:

  • Do your staff know enough about the range of products or services that your business offers?
  • Do they understand your company’s overarching goals, and how they can impact on these?
  • Are they familiar with your brand values, and do they strive to ensure that they actively reinforce and represent them?
  • Is everyone clear on the specific key performance indicators that will be used to measure the success of an individual campaign?

For startups especially, an engaged and knowledgeable team will play a key role in keeping clients happy and helping your business to evolve – and this starts with you ensuring that your team understands and believes in what you’re trying to achieve.

Related: 5 ways to maximise employee productivity

Pop culture can be profitable

Huge calendar events like Christmas present a world of opportunity when it comes to marketing your business effectively. Whether you’re working a festive-themed campaign into your marketing strategy or jumping on the popularity of the latest must-have toy, keeping an eye on trends and crazes will help you to stay one step ahead of the competition at every turn.

The global Pokémon Go craze saw a game originally targeted at children take the world by storm, teaching a diverse range of industries some valuable marketing lessons. Opportunities like this aren’t guaranteed to present themselves, so use regular brainstorming sessions to gather the creative minds of your business in one place and hijack any cultural fads as they gain momentum.

Customers have needs

Whether or not you’re thinking months in advance, one thing’s for sure: your customers will be – and responding to the needs of customers or clients in a proactive way should always be a top priority for companies looking to encourage long-term loyalty. Managers of physical stores can speak to their staff about the possibility of picking up extra shifts to facilitate extended opening times during busier periods, while other B2C businesses might extend operating hours to show clients how serious they are about servicing them.

Whether it’s Valentine’s Day or Easter, seasonality is something that affects the vast majority of businesses – meaning there’ll always be a way to add a seasonal spin to your business’s marketing tactics.

Related: Knowing your customers: How to make customers feel special

If you’re serious about planning for the year ahead and making 2017’s seasonal calendar work for you, now’s the time to take the next steps!