With the summer vending season coming to a close and the holiday season gearing up, it’s an optimal time for vendors to do a bit of housekeeping before the gift-giving season kicks off. As a seasonal vendor, you have a chunk of time now to make sure that your affairs are in order and to plan for the rest of the year.

Here are five tips to maximize your off-season time.

1. Business Inventory

What do you need to stock up on? This includes more than just your product. Boxes, stickers, wrapping paper, tags, etc. usually take some time to print and ship. Now is a great time to restock in anticipation of the holiday season. Ideally you have a consistent inventory system for tracking the products necessary to run your business – if not, this is definitely the time to get moving on recording those orders. Lastly, check up on your business licenses, tax ID number, permits, etc., and keep the expiration dates handy to ensure that you are always up-to-date.

2. Reflection and Projections

Why now? Because this is a great period for reflection and goal setting for the holiday season and beyond. Start by creating a monthly forecast, which will help you determine how much product you need and if you require additional sales staff. Take note of trends in your space and make adjustments as necessary. Create a sales strategy and plan everything out so that you don’t have to worry about it with things ramp up again.

3. Prepare for Tax Season

It is never too early to prepare for tax season. Who wants to wait until April to pull together all of those numbers? Outside of your products, you’ll want to keep track of things like car mileage, gas, cell phone data plan, storage, etc. on a regular basis. And if you have questions, it’s also a great time reach out to your tax advisor to ensure you’re on the right track before the holiday season (and before your advisor’s busy season kicks off).

4. Encourage Repeat Business

First and foremost – thank your customers. You most definitely should collect contact information through your mobile payment device and provide an opportunity for people to join your mailing list while you are vending. If you have left over spring/summer products, now is a great time to offer deals to help move the inventory. Create unique promotions that can help you to identify how and where you are generating sales. This is an especially useful practice if you also have an ecommerce platform for your business. Fresh data can help you make decisions about repeat vending opportunities and identify your best sales markets. And of course, if you plan on having a presence at upcoming flea markets and/or you have plans to move to a new location, be sure to let everyone know where to find you.

5. Refresh Your Website and Displays

If you’ve been using the same display all summer, it is time for some fresh ideas. Look online for inspiration to make your display brand new again. Plan your Web content through the rest of the year and get a head start creating it.

What are some of your tried-and-true practices for a successful holiday season?

About the Author(s)

U.S. Small Business Administration

The SBA is an independent federal agency that works to assist and protect the interests of American small businesses.

U.S. Small Business Administration
Flea Market