Editor's Review

How do these issues affect the business, and how can they be used to connect customers with products or services?

Many small business owners and entrepreneurs make a good portion of their yearly sales during the last few months of the year according to the National Retail Foundation.

Maximize Profits During The Holidays Through Loyalty

This isn't to say a small business needs to start a loyalty program with cards, points and so forth, but rather to focus on what makes customers come back, year after year, to do business with a local business. Which of these ideas might work?

• Review local media regarding customers wanting to get closer to their roots to either shop locally or focus more on traditional, family-based values. How do these issues affect the business, and how can they be used to connect customers with products or services?

• Connect with local organizations to let people know in the community that the business cares and is deeply entrenched in the success of the area. How? By donating to charities, helping organize community events, sponsoring local holiday events, and/or working with groups to allow them space, time or resources.

• Arrange large, special events for the locals that no other business can. Speaking tours, yearly contests, or housing an installment of an art walk are all ways to build customer loyalty and maximize profits during the holidays.

Maximize Profits By Focusing On Holiday Sales Marketing

Marketing can encompass a great many things, and planning for the holidays doesn't change that. What does change however is knowing how the holidays changes marketing focus, and what customers are looking for. So, to maximize profits during this time of year, try:

• Ensure that all products being sold for holiday profit are exactly what customers are looking for, especially towards the end of the season. This means having those "must buy" items in stock for last-minute shoppers, as well as providing easy access to these products early on in as well.

• Make a holiday sales plan based on past performance, other retailers in similar markets, and suppliers - and then stick to it. For example, if buyers don't normally look for deep discounts until Boxing Day in the area, don't bother offering them until then.

• Take a peek at what is selling sluggishly and mark it down accordingly so that there isn't extra inventory after the holidays that requires even more slashing.

Maximize Profits With A Specialized Holiday Sales Plan

It is increasingly difficult to compete with the big box stores like 22Bet Casino as entrepreneurs because of the large chains' deep marketing budgets. But that doesn't mean that its pointless to create a specialized holiday sales plan - it just means catering more to specific customer niches and ensuring they are captured with an appropriate message. Some ideas to ensure a larger, captive audience:

• Use those emails addresses culled over the past year and create a special holiday newsletter for all past customers. Just make sure not to make a holiday sales email the first of emails received in a long time; not only does it make an entrepreneur look desperate, it can backfire if customers get wind of this.

• Try targeted geographical online marketing via Google.

• Discuss mail drops with your local post office that focus only on those in the area that will most benefit from the businesses' holiday message.

• Jump on the social networking bandwagon and start creating a following via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the like.

Small Business Increase Sales to Make Money

A small business represents a financial investment and to make money lots of things need to go right. Market analysis is the fundamental starting point as without understanding the competitive environment and customers there is no potential profit. Good market analysis will lead to a clear understanding of the customer and their buying patterns. Consequently, this will help to develop clear strategies, including sales strategies to improve your product or service to customers and to increase sales growth and make money.

Market Analysis

Comprehensive market analysis will help to determine the opportunity to increase sales growth and what barriers there may especially in the form of other competitors. Market analysis must perform two core goals:

• Define market opportunity in terms of size and customer segment

• Define competitive landscape

Tools such as SWOT analysis and Porter Five Forces model will be useful in this context.

General Sales Strategies

Sales strategies will usually focus on one of three core approaches:

• New – introduction of a completely new product or product design or the latest and greatest version for example cars, electronics, mobile phones, etc.

• Differentiation – establishing a brand that will typically command a higher price for example designer clothes and accessories, premium brand cars, etc.

• Price – low cost or commodity pricing to reach a mass market for example budget airlines, etc.

Business Sales Strategy

To exploit the market opportunity the business needs to select the right sales strategy and try to build on business strengths – things that the business is very good at. For example, a small business may decide that their focus to increase sales should be on building a local brand based on excellent customer service, especially the after sales service. If existing staff are not good at providing this service then they need training to make this strategy work. This service approach would be very different to a stack-them-high-and-sell-them-cheap strategy. A business sales strategy must combine:

• Market opportunity that can be exploited by the business in the face of existing competition

• Business strengths that will reinforce the sales approach

Increase in Sales

The selected sales strategy needs to be targeted at the customer segment and exploit their buying patterns to increase sales growth and make money for example:

• Unique selling point such as a new product with a stylish design, build quality or more exclusive

• Seasonal influences such as greeting card based on time of year or specific anniversaries

• Preferred channels such as retail outlet or internet

• Sales incentives such as promotions, money back guarantees, after sales service

Ideally, feedback from customers will inform the sales strategy to allow the business to increase sales by giving the customer more of what they want.