Festival season is upon us! The next few weeks will be full of family gatherings and celebrations that hopefully follow COVID-appropriate guidelines. People will be eating out, buying new clothing, and investing in new things.
The period leading up to Diwali has also proven to be lucrative for small businesses in the past as SMEs are agile enough to make use of this temporary change in consumer behaviour to increase their profits and gain new customers.
As a small business owner, you must be wondering how you can get in on the action and benefit from the festival season. So here are CreditEnable’s top tips to prepare your small business for the festival season.
1. Update your inventory or service offerings
If you’re a service provider or run a retail store, now is the right time to revisit your sales records around Diwali in 2020 and 2019 to determine what items and services performed well with your customers then.
If you sell apparel, your sale of traditional Indian clothing may have been higher than your sales of Western clothing around this time last year. If you’re a service provider, more new businesses may have signed up for your services this time last year since this is an auspicious time to start a new business.
Strategically look at your sales and inventory to determine what products and services may be in high demand this year. Then, make sure you stock up on those items to sell this month!
2. Add some new items to your stock list
From September – November, people across India are busy doing “spring” cleaning, getting their houses painted, and furnishings redone. They will be buying new things for their kitchens and new clothes to spruce up their wardrobe. Everyone is getting ready for New Year’s (Diwali) celebration!
As an astute business owner, this is the perfect time to add some “limited-edition” items to your list of services based on your understanding of consumer behaviour and purchasing patterns around the festivals.
If you run a restaurant, introduce some festive dishes to your menu, like traditional sweets and party platters. If you own a retail business that sells household items, position cleaning products and kitchenware in a more predominant location on your shelves. It’s all about stocking what people tend you buy this time of the year so that you can maximize your sales.
3. Join an e-commerce platform
Technology makes our lives easier. E-commerce platforms were lifesavers for many small businesses during the pandemic, and during the festival season, you can leverage them as well.
Selling your products on Flipkart, Amazon, or Snapdeal is a great way to increase sales by reaching more customers, and getting insight into your target audiences’ purchasing habits. Using the data insight these platforms provide you, you can determine what items perform better, when your customers are more likely to shop, and what other things they’re likely to purchase. You can use these insights to inform your future inventory and sales plans.
4. Start marketing your business online
If you’re not already using online marketing and social media for your small business, the festival season is the perfect time to get started! Using free platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, you can reach more consumers faster and engage with them easily. Doing short videos of your shop, inventory, and customer testimonials is a great way to engage with a large audience and generate interest in your products. You can use free platforms, like Canva, to create attractive creatives to share with your followers and even host Lives on Instagram and Facebook that allow you to chat with your audience in real-time.
Once you have the basics figured out, you can start using Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads closer to Diwali to reach a more targeted audience who will be more likely to buy from you.
5. Accept digital payments
Offering your customers a variety of payment options makes their shopping experience more pleasant and ensures you have a steady stream of cash flowing into your business throughout the month.
These payments automatically get transferred to your bank account and can be tracked digitally, generating rich data on your income and expenses that lenders use to assess your financial health when you apply for a business loan.
Around Diwali, your business may get a higher number of customers than what you’re used to dealing with on a regular day. It may become hard for you to keep track of all the orders and collect payments from the customers. Accepting digital payments is an easier and efficient way for you to get paid and track your income. You know who has paid and who has not in real-time, making payment collection easy for you.
6. Give your customers special festival offers
To draw in more customers, put together some attractive festival offers on items that will be in high demand in the coming weeks. For example, we decorate our homes and businesses with candles and diyas on Diwali. So, make sure you sell those items and consider giving customers who buy multiple packets of candles a % discount on those items. Such offers will help your stand out, attracting more customers.
If you own a restaurant, offer discounts or packages on higher value or volume orders. Since people host Diwali parties throughout the month leading up to Diwali, this is a great way to draw in business while offering customers exactly what they need right now – large quantities of delicious food!
7. Hire some part-time workers closer to Diwali
If you’re in the retail sector and run a physical store, hiring extra help closer to Diwali may be a good idea to keep up with the increase in customer footfall during that time.
Get the word out now and tell your employees to share the news with their networks. Hiring new people familiar to you and your employees will put your mind at ease and make it easier to garner trust and build strong teamwork amongst your employees during the high-pressure time.
8. Apply for a small business loan now
If you predict you will need some extra financial support to keep up with your plans for the festive season, you can get a small business loan.
Since getting a loan can become a lengthy process, planning is a good idea. To ensure you have the money in the bank well ahead of Diwali, you should be applying for a loan right now! It may take you some time to decide what business loan to apply for and with whom. Then you need to get your business documents together and renew any expired business registrations or leases. You will also need to provide the lender with your financial statements, bank statements, and audited financials if applying for a large loan. Once you’ve got all your documents in order, the lender is going to need some time to conduct their assessment of your loan request, and then approve your loan. If you’re not satisfied with the loan terms, you may need to negotiate with the lender, and only once the agreements are signed will the money be deposited into your bank account.
So, you see why you may not be able to get the loan before Diwali if you delay the application any longer?
Don’t worry! CreditEnable has the perfect solution for you!
Using our technology platform, you can apply for a business loan and get matched with a lender and a loan product that is right for your business needs within minutes. All you need to do is fill out a short survey telling us about your business. Then we’ll check your business loan eligibility. If you meet our lender partner requirements, we’ll tell you exactly what documents we need from you to process your loan application further. Once we have all your documents and have assessed your financial health, we’ll match you with one of the 100+ specializes SME loan products our 25+ partners offer. Then we’ll send your complete application package to the lender.
Our service is free to use, 100% digital, and once the lender approves your loan request, we also help you through the underwriting process so that you can make fully informed decisions about your loan terms and business growth.
9. Follow COVID-19 guidelines
Yes, Diwali is right around the corner, and everyone wants to let loose and have fun, but we can’t forget that COVID-19 is still a concern.
So, don’t forget to double-mask, set strict guidelines for your business and employees, and ask your customers to respect your guidelines.
With markets becoming more busy and public gatherings increasing, we need to be extra cautious in the coming months to ensure our COVID-19 cases do not surge right after Diwali.
Right now, the authorities may be on high alert and enforcing COVID guidelines more strictly. To avoid getting fined for violating COVID restrictions, be safe, follow social distancing norms, double mask, and sanitize!
Avoiding fines and following regulations indicates to lenders that you run your business responsibly, and this will come in handy when you apply for the business loan to fund your Diwali plans!
Whether it’s getting you the right small business financing or helping you make better decisions for your business, CreditEnable will always be committed to SME growth and success. Have a lovely festive season, and may the coming year bring you joy and success!
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