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How to Prepare Your Small Business for the Holidays

As a small business owner, the holidays can be both a joyous and hectic time. There are so many things to do in order to get ready for the influx of customers, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed. The following holiday checklist from the Aurora Chamber of Commerce can help you stay on track and make sure that everything gets done.

Time to Decorate

Ambius notes that decorating your storefront is a great way to attract customers and create a festive atmosphere. There are many different ways to decorate, and you can use whatever materials you have on hand. Some simple ideas include:

  • Stringing holiday lights around the windows and door

  • Hanging ornaments or wreaths on the door or in the window

  • Putting up a tree or other festive decorations inside

  • Putting up a banner or sign outside advertising the holiday specialties

Provide a Gift Guide

As ConvertFlow points out, a great way to attract customers this season is to create a gift guide. This can be as simple as a list of the most popular gifts, or it can be more elaborate and include pictures and descriptions of various items. If you have the time and resources, you can even create a separate website or section of your website devoted to your gift guide.


If you want to save on paper costs, consider creating a PDF gift guide you can send via email or that customers can access with a QR code. With PDFs you can add and subtract pages, as well as extract PDF pages online for free, and you have the option to keep files smaller and the formatting is contained. It's a great way to share what you have to sell this season!

Consider Seasonal Staff

If you're expecting a lot of customers during the holidays, then you may need to hire additional staff to help out. This can be a great way to get some extra hands on deck and also give your regular employees a break. When hiring seasonal staff, it's important to be selective and make sure that you find the right people for the job. You'll want to interview potential employees and ask them questions about their experience and what they're looking for in a job.

Plan a Marketing Strategy

Now is the time to start planning your holiday marketing strategy. There are many different ways to market your small business during the holidays, and the right approach will depend on your business and target audience. Some of the most popular methods include:

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way to reach out to customers and remind them about your holiday specials. You can create a holiday-themed email campaign that includes festive images, special offers, and a call to action.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is another great way to reach out to customers during the holidays. You can run special promotions, post festive images and videos, and engage with customers in real-time.

Print Advertising

If you want to reach a wider audience, print advertising may be the right option for you. You can run ads in newspapers, magazines, or online publications. Just make sure that your ad design is eye-catching and includes all the necessary information about your business and holiday specials.

Do Your Part to Give Back

The holidays are a time for giving, and there are many ways small businesses can give back to their local communities. One of the simplest ways is to donate goods or services to a charity auction or raffle. You can also volunteer your time by helping out at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Alternatively, you can support local artists and artisans by purchasing their products.

Take Advantage of Last-Minute Shopping

If you're a brick-and-mortar store, it's wise to cater to last-minute shoppers, and one of the most effective methods is to run special promotions and discounts. You can also offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount, or you can include a gift with purchase.


Another way to lure last-minute shoppers is to make it easy for them to buy your products. Make sure your website is updated with all of your latest products and offers, and make sure you have a variety of payment options available.


Although the holiday rush can be a chaotic time for small business owners, with careful planning and execution, it can also be a highly profitable season. Use this checklist as a guide to help your business enjoy holiday success.

Connect with and learn from other local business leaders by joining the Aurora Chamber of Commerce.


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