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If you are a retail business owner your schedule is most likely stretched to the limit under the best of times. Keeping up with all of the aspects of your business can take a lot of your time. So how do you prepare your retail business for the holiday season?

During the holidays, however, you have to really get your hustle on in order to keep up with everything on your “To Do” list.

And as far as having the picture perfect holiday you might dream of? Forget it.

You’ll be lucky if you can get half of what you want accomplished and still get to celebrate the season.

Getting everything done if you also have a family is even more difficult. But, family or not, it can help if you know ahead of time how to prepare your retail business for the holiday season.

1. Advertise

If you expect to cash in on any of the extra traffic the holidays can bring you will need to do some advertising. There are several ways this can be done including your website, blog posts, customer emails, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.

For example, consider updating your website to reflect holiday products or services you will be promoting. In addition, be sure to include pictures and information on sales you will be having.

You may wish to plan around other holiday events taking place in your community, such as a Christmas bazaar or showcase.

Start a blog if you don’t already have one. Post about special holiday products and add information about extended holiday hours.

2. Stock Ample Inventory

Prepare your business for the holiday season by making sure you have plenty of inventory. Obviously, you know better than anyone what the fine line is between enough stock and too little. But if you expect people to spend money in your store making their holiday purchases, you must have product available.

3. Update Displays

Changing the look of your store and the items in it can make a difference in how much people buy. Sometimes moving a group of items to eye level and featuring it as a stocking stuffer will move inventory that previously collected dust.

Prepare promotional merchandise for holiday sales you will feature. Remove some displays as needed to make room. Dust shelves, clean, and tidy everything as you move through your store.

Create pre-packaged gift boxes or grab bags for busy people on the go. Cash and carry items and stocking stuffers are appreciated by customers who are in a hurry to complete their holiday shopping.

4. Make Shopping Easy

Have baskets, bags, or carts readily available for you customers to fill as they shop. They will appreciate having their hands free. You will appreciate the additional revenue it creates for your business.

The easier you make their shopping experience the more likely they are to buy from you both now and in the future. Prepare your business for the holiday season by readying these items ahead of time.

5. Check Cash Reserves

Make sure you have enough petty cash on hand for small business needs as well as small bills for change. In addition, keep track of how much you have on hand to cover regular bills or any emergencies that could crop up.

6. Manage Staff to Prepare Your Retail Business

Talk to your staff ahead of time to find out if anyone will be taking time off. Hire extra staff, if needed, to cover extended hours your business may be open.

Your employees may wish to know if payroll will be done differently as the holiday nears. Proper planning ahead of time will prevent you from scrambling to meet payroll at the last minute.

7. Review Refund Policies

Don’t wait until you have a customer in front of you to review your process for refunds. Make sure you and all staff members have easy to follow directions on how to complete a merchandise return.

When you prepare your business for the holiday season in advance you reduce everyone’s stress level, including your own.

8. Set the Mood

When you set the mood for the holiday your customers will enjoy their shopping experience and spend more. Decorate, make some goodies, and have coupons or small freebies for them to take away as they leave.

9. Purchase Gift Wrap

Buy your gift wrap, bows, and ribbons ahead of time to prepare your business for the holiday season. Nothing is worse than promising free wrapping and not having the supplies on hand to make good on your word.

Everyone gets busy and stressed as the holidays draw near. If you know how to prepare your business for the holiday season ahead of time you can reduce yours and have a happier holiday.