SelfInformed

Your monthly source for the latest news for your micro-business. From operations and marketing to legislative updates from Capitol Hill, SelfInformed has it all!

SelfInformed - December 2020

In this issue, read about holiday small business tips and the 2nd COVID relief bill.

10 Tips for Your Small Business to Thrive During the Holidays

The holiday shopping season can be stressful for small business owners trying to compete with larger online and offline retailers who have a wider variety of products and can sell their products at more affordable prices. But with more consumers learning how important it is to buy locally and support small businesses, there is some hope out there for your business to thrive during the holiday season.

We have put together these useful tips to help you and your company survive this hectic season.

Prepare Your Sales Team
Staffing could be a problem if you have several people taking days off for the holidays. It would help if you came up with a holiday schedule for your workers. Create a firm plan for your regular employees and make a note of your workers willing to be on-call to fill in if needed. That will help you avoid those situations where you have to find someone to cover a shift on short notice.

Create a Marketing Checklist
For some small businesses, the sales during the holidays will reflect how successful they were throughout the year. Many small businesses receive around 30% or more of their entire annual revenue between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. Ensure you get your customer’s attention with a marketing campaign that will remind them to shop locally this holiday season. Consider creating a list of all the things you feel are most important to get across to your customers, and then build your holiday marketing campaign around that list.

Update or Create a Website
Many small businesses rely on their online sales to gain an extra boost during the holidays. If your company website needs an update, or you haven’t built a website yet, now is the time to do so. Your website doesn’t always have to be elaborate to get your customers to stick around and shop. Making sure it loads quickly and provides visitors with all the essential details they need, such as contact information and store hours, will do the trick.

Reach Out to Your Customers
Chances are your customers are going to be just as busy as you are during the holiday season. Your small business may not be the main thing on their mind. Now is the time to reach out and connect with your current customers to remind them of what you offer. Send an email or engage with them on social media. Doing so will help you build a relationship that could result in even more paying customers down the line.

Maintain Your Brand’s Image and Message
Your small business must maintain consistency with your brand image and message to make it easy for current and potential customers to recognize. If you have recently updated your logo, for instance, make sure you have updated the image on all your social media accounts, flyers, and advertisements. It can help avoid any confusion with customers.

Provide Your Customers with a Positive Experience
The holiday season can be a stressful time for a business and its customers. Everyone is so busy running around buying gifts and taking care of last-minute errands that making one last stop at a local store can seem like a grueling chore. To make your business stand out, and keep your customers happy, provide excellent customer service and an in-store experience your customers will appreciate after a long day of shopping. Good customer service can go a long way, and it will mean much more to those who visit your store in the months to come.

Be Mobile Ready
With 87% of all online shoppers using their phones for shopping these days, you could miss out on many potential holiday sales if your company’s website is not mobile optimized. If you have a website up and running, it needs to be compatible with mobile devices and other platforms such as tablets or laptops.

Double Check your Reviews
Your brand’s online reputation could make or break your business. Word of mouth advertising has taken a new form, and now more people turn to online resources to read reviews and learn more about businesses in their area. Take the time to read your current reviews and make sure they represent your business accurately. Respond to both positive and negative comments in a professional manner. It will show you care about customers’ comments and concerns.

Promote Your Business’ Good Values
Tis the season for giving. If your small business helps local charities or fundraisers, now is the best time to promote the fact. Your customers may share the same values, and those similarities could help you establish a special bond filled with trust and admiration. Be sure to spread the word on what charities your business is passionate about — in emails, newsletters, and on social media.

Keep Track of Previous Holiday Sales
Looking over the details for your past year’s sales during the holidays will help you learn more about what you should change and what should stay the same. By understanding what worked in the past, you can continue those trends and enjoy ringing in the profits year after year.

To learn more about ensuring your small business’ success during the holidays, contact the experts at NASE. Our licensed professionals will be happy to answer any questions you have.


Congress Finally Approves 2nd Covid Relief Bill

(*Editors note, this article was written on December 21st 2020. As with any ongoing issue, some information may have changed.)

In a last minute deal, Congressional leaders in the Senate and House reached a $900 billion Covid relief bill. The bill which came after months of fractured negotiations that saw House and Senate leaders produce multiple pieces of legislation at vastly different price tags. The key components of the bill are as follows: 

  • Extends the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and adds deductibility for PPP expenses
    • Gives businesses experiencing severe revenue reductions an opportunity to apply for a second draw PPP loan
    • Includes 501(c)(6) organizations 
    • $15 billion in funding for entertainment venues, movie theaters, and museums that are experiencing significant revenue loss  
    • Codifies federal rules that ensure churches and faith-based organizations are eligible for PPP loans 
  • Provides for $600 direct payments for both adults and dependents 
  • Temporarily extends a number of unemployment programs created by CARES Act that expire Dec. 31, 2020
    • Provide unemployed individuals an additional $300 per week for 10 weeks from December 26, 2020-March 14, 2021 
    • Extends and phases-out PUA, which is a temporary federal program covering self-employed and gig workers, to March 14 (after which no new applicants) through April 5, 2021
  • $25 billion in temporary and targeted rental assistance for individuals who lost their source of income during the pandemic
    • Extends the eviction moratorium until January 31, 2021

Additionally, Congress will approve year end funding measures that will keep the federal government funded through September 2021, the appropriations includes a few additional items of importance include language to stop surprise billing and makes meals deductible business expense for 2 years. 

Katie Vlietstra is NASE’s Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs


Courtesy of NASE.org
https://www.nase.org/about-us/nase-publications/selfinformed