Quarterly Planning Time
It feels like the year truly has four seasons or quarters.
The first quarter is January – March. Retail is slow, it’s still winter, and there’s little to focus on, except your own business.
You plot, plan, and write. Finish your tax returns and dream about what you’d like to do this year.
The second quarter arrives, April through June are the first shows of the year. You’ll actually set up your pop-up and generate some sales. Hopefully enough to pay the CPA and buy supplies and products.
And before you know it, the third quarter is here. The July through September summer events and the kids are out of school and you’re trying to get ready for campouts.
At the same time, you need to be planning for the next quarter.
Yes, it’ time to schedule your holiday sales, attend Trade Shows and order any merchandise – again.
It’s hard to think about the Christmas markets while watching the kids play softball. So, focus on them, and find a quiet corner, early morning to write your plans. Work/Life Balance is one of the segments we’ll talk about in the next month.
Where To Start?
Start by checking your cash and estimate what you’ll have available to spend. Don’t forget to include any loan/credit card payments and fixed expenses.
For new companies, you’ll need to forecast what you believe can be sold and what you would have left from that.
For continuing companies, review past holiday sales. Think about what you’ve had available to sell, what you have left and what you’ll need to bring in. This is where having an inventory system helps you make good decisions on spending.
Decide what to reorder and how much you’ll generate for carryover to get through the 1st quarter. Spend accordingly.
Be sure you have a budget on paper. The less you must borrow to get through the winter quarter, the more you’ll have at the end of the fall quarter, and the less interest you’ll pay and the more money you’ll have for growth.
After the section on Work/Life Balance we’ll go into financial management and marketing, so stay with us.
Have A Plan, Work Your Plan
Having a plan for the Christmas Season can make a huge difference in your profitability and your peace of mind. Break out your Business Journal and write about what went well last year. New? Write about what you’d like to have for sale and how you’ll sell it.
In today’s world, some merchandise might have better sales online than in store. Think about where you’ll market what you buy or create. And don’t forget to research your competition’s websites for how they are selling and marketing.
Christmas buying starts in September. Don’t wait until October to know what you’re going to do. Most wholesalers are out of stock by then. Think about pre-orders. Order your products with a late September ship date. Most all companies won’t charge until they ship. You’ll have peace of mind that you’ll have product without having to pay for it until they send it. Ask your vendors what terms they have available.