Every Friday I post a “here’s the thing” blog. “Here’s the thing” is something my mum (and many other wise people) like to say when they’re about to make a good point. Hopefully these posts are also good points.
Do you watch Game of Thrones? Or have you read the books?
I have a love-hate relationship with the TV show. Except it’s more like a mildly-enjoy-it-when-something-less-terrible-happens-HATE relationship. I mostly sit there hiding from the TV.
I mean, it’s violent, desolate and has horrific treatment of women. And everyone else. But it did have Sean Bean being all nice and northern for a bit. And today is Yorkshire Day (woohoo!) so a good time to celebrate my fellow northerners.
ANYWAY, I digress.
Game of Thrones has given us something that feels apt – a foreboding and doom-filled adage they’ve coined so well: Winter is coming.
Because when you sell online, winter is always coming. Christmas always looms. And the first of August only really means one thing – you’ve got about a month to get it together.
And I mean that in the nicest, kindest way. Christmas is a huge opportunity for small creative businesses to make the bulk of their annual trade, to get their name out there, and to grow. It’s a time when we all get warm and fuzzy about our family and friends, we want to do something a bit special, and – more and more – we want to find lovely, personal, unique gifts to give.
You have that. You can provide. You can get people through the winter!
But are you prepared? While Christmas can bump your business up a couple of levels, it can also overwhelm and take it out of you. I’ve heard it from loads of small business owners over the years: they don’t want to do another Christmas like that. They really struggled to keep it together. They’re still recovering.
Now is the time to get your survival plan together. You need to fortify your own Wall to keep the white walkers out. (Okay, Game of Thrones analogies end here.)
So here’s the thing:
Start your own Christmas survival handbook. Get a notebook or start an Evernote list or whatever works for you, and start writing down your processes and contingency plans.
Here are a few ideas:
- Write down how you make, package and post every item, with all the variables. This will help you to clarify your process for yourself, but will also help you train someone else if you need to.
- Calmly, maybe with tea and cake, list out your worst case scenarios. What will you do? What’s your equivalent of an emergency evacuation plan in case of fire? Step 1: don’t panic. Step 2: update customers, and so on.
- Research and list some alternative suppliers. When you rely on other people, you never know what might happen. Even if no one makes exactly what you need, you might find yourself offering something slightly different if necessary.
I know I’ll be writing way more about Christmas planning and preparation. And I’m going to run a supportive e-course in the Christmas months – more about that soon.
But right now, today, while we’re in the middle of a glorious summer, it feels like the right time to just nudge towards having a survival plan for Christmas…