As we approach the busiest season of the year, online business formation and startup services firm Incfile asked small business owners from cities, suburbs, and rural areas for details on how they’re getting prepared and looked closely at how holiday planning, preparation, and stress differ among small business owners across the United States.
Some of the key insights:
Small business owners’ biggest holiday season challenges
Business owners across the board said boosting sales is their top concern this holiday season, with 39 percent saying it’s their main priority and cause of stress. Difficulty with hiring was second at 24 percent, followed closely by supply chain issues at 22 percent.
Ecommerce is big this season—thanks to COVID
As one of the positives of COVID, ecommerce is booming. The survey showed that one in four small business owners set up an online shop for the first time this year. Online stores and ecommerce sites were most common among the younger age groups, from 18-44 (90 percent). Among those with both a brick-and-mortar and an ecommerce business, over half (57 percent) said that the majority of sales come through their website.
Competition is fierce this holiday season
More than a third (37 percent) of all business owners said they’re introducing new products this year to earn more sales, and over half (55 percent) cited this as the number one way they’re planning to beat their competitors. Increased marketing/ad dollars (54 percent) and special sales (54 percent) came close behind, but loyalty programs trailed at just 20 percent.
The season of giving inspires giving back
More than three-quarters of small business owners will make charitable donations this season. This is significant because after so many businesses struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, we can now see their resilience and generosity in full force: 80 percent of employers are also giving back to their employees, offering time off to spend with their families this holiday season.
“The holiday season is one of the busiest and most exciting times of year for small business owners,” said Dustin Ray, chief growth officer & co-CEO at Incfile, in a news release. “It’s encouraging to hear, as the holiday season gets underway, that 87 percent of small business owners feel supported by their community. It’s been a difficult couple of years, and to have a strong sense of community is a key pillar for small business owners to realize success.”
Tips from Incfile’s Small Business Community
The firm’s small business community shared these tips on how they navigate the busy holiday season; here’s what they had to say:
- Find balance—it’s such a busy time, but you need to recharge your batteries and spend time with your families to operate at your best for the entire holiday season
- Plan early and get organized, so you have plenty of time to execute—there are a lot of tasks you can complete before the holiday season even starts
- Pick one thing to focus on that’s a priority for your business—this will help ensure you don’t get distracted by competition or things you can’t control