12. Drummers Drumming
As the number of shopping days dwindles, it's imperative to finish strong. Be sure to “Drum” up as much business as possible before the holiday. Offer incentives to help reduce inventory.
11. Pipers Piping
Most companies fiscal year will be ending shortly. Be sure to get your tax information together so when it comes time to pay the piper (had to reach on this one) you will be prepared.
10. Evaluating Your Inventory
Evaluating your inventory is a very important year end exercise for any size business. Reducing inventory can be very important because it can generate cash flow for the new year and not be taking up valuable space in your warehouse. You didn’t make any money on candles sitting in your warehouse or shelf. Holiday candles are difficult to sell after January 1st unless deeply discounted. Excessive inventory takes up space and hinders your ability to purchase new products.
9. Donate to Charity
If it appears certain candles will not sell, consider donating them to an appropriate charity. This will go to a good cause and can help with your tax deductions. If they have no value, be sure to get them off your books so you do not have a tax liability on items that have no “market” value. Check with your accountant for all true tax questions.
When it appears selling at full value will not happen, offer deep discounts because generating the sale in most instances is better than having the inventory for another 9-10 months.
7. Donate to Your Community
Think about giving away the candles directly to the community. Take 20-30 candles with a nice bow to your church, spouses work or neighborhood holiday party. Give them to individuals that may not necessarily know that you make candles. They would be very appreciative of this gesture and may be more inclined to purchase your candles in the future.
6. Geese a Laying
While the information is fresh, look over your holiday sales and determine which items were big sellers (Golden Rings) and which are ugly ducklings (in this instances non-sellers). This will help determine which products you will want to drop from your product line.
5. Golden Rings
While you are looking over sales data, don’t just look at sales but also gross profit (see the May 2007 issue on pricing). You may have several items that the profit is better than others. Examine ways to sell more of the higher margin products in 2009.
4. Calling Birds
Reach out to all of your customers and let them know some of your plans for the upcoming year. It might be new fragrances, new containers or even types of candle. Most people start the New Year with a lot of optimism, and if you can put ideas and concepts in their process early enough, you will have an advantage over your competition.
3. Change Candle Names
If a candle is a holiday specific fragrance rename so you can extend the selling season until the end of winter. A Christmas Cheer might turn to Winter Delight.
2. Be More Efficient
Since there may be some slow days, look at your operation and see if there is any way to make it more efficient. Any new equipment you might need. Year end is always great for budgeting and planning so you can kick the New Year off right. While the inclination is to wind down the year we have always been an advocate of taking this slow time to examine the entire business.
1. True Love
Most consumers love candles. Be sure to use this in your marketing plan for 2009. Candles can serve many functions; room freshner, accessory and even function as lighting. Be sure to incorporate all of these as you plan for new products in 2009. Most important be sure your passion and love for the business still burns.