Black Friday and Cyber Monday are fast approaching, providing a great opportunity for businesses to capitalize on the busiest time of the year for consumer spending.
Recent shifts in shopper behavior have seen Cyber Monday surpassing Black Friday sales as customers increasingly turn to online marketplaces to comparatively shop for the best deals.
While it is beneficial for businesses to promote their own products during the holiday shopping season, it is also in their interest to take advantage of holiday deals to purchase products for their business needs.
The needs of a business vary widely depending on its industry and typical expenses for material goods. However, businesses that take advantage of holiday deals to purchase products they typically restock throughout the year can drastically reduce their overhead expenses, and it is a great way to prepare to expand their business to new markets, customers or clients.
Businesses that specialize in a skilled trade can outfit their employees with upgraded or new tools, technology or other items to maximize efficiency while office environments can replenish their stock of supplies or upgrade their computer systems.
To help business owners prepare for the next year and take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, Better Business Bureau provides the following questions to consider:
What type of material good do you restock most often? This can include typical business needs such as paper, pens or printer ink, but can also include other items specific to the business. For example, landscapers may replenish their stock of weed barrier fabrics most often while electricians restock their solder supply. As the business owner, you know better than anyone what items are ordered most often and can use this information to search for deals on that product during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Keep in mind that there may be a limit on the number of discounted items you can purchase, so be sure to read the fine print.
What complaint do you hear most often from your employees about their tools or resources? You may overhear your employees complain about a slow computer system or unreliable tool. Use this opportunity to talk with your staff about what challenges they have with the tools and resources provided to them and research possible solutions. A new printer or office computer may go a long way in improving the work environment and increasing productivity.
What do you need to expand your business? Consider your expansion plans for the next year and what material goods or tools you will need to accomplish your goal. This can include furniture or systems for a new office location, basic tools for new employees or promotional materials for entering a new market. Take an inventory of what supplies you currently use and estimate how that will change as you expand your business.
What new tools or technologies would help maximize efficiency or improve employee morale? Innovations in industries often produce new tools or technologies specifically designed to increase efficiency or productivity in the field. Take the time to research some of these new tools and determine if they would make a positive impact on your business. You may be able to find a deal during the holiday shopping season on a new item that you can field test and make a more informed decision to justify the business expense to upgrade.
How do you determine what materials are necessary? There is a stark difference between a want and a need, and one of the best ways to help determine the difference is by speaking with your staff and other leaders in the industry. Listen to specific pain points your employees have and what they need, and then ask other leaders how they deal with those problems if you are unsure how to address them. If purchasing a new tool will help alleviate some of their challenges, have a process in place that can track the return of investment of the expense. An expensive item may be worth the investment if it significantly decreases the amount of time it takes your employee to do a routine task.
For more tips and business resources, visit BBB.org/SmallBusiness.