Can you believe that summer is almost over? Every year, it seems as though the seasons slip by at a faster pace than the year before. The holidays and fourth quarter often feel like they’re barreling towards many entrepreneurs and small business managers like a freight train. Aside from a handful of exceptions, it is likely that the holidays and/or the fourth quarter is a crucial time for your small business.

Start The End Of The Year Off Right

Most retailers are especially dependent on a successful holiday season to maintain the viability of their businesses. When it comes to your holiday and end of the year marketing, it’s time to buckle down. You need to have a clear understanding of what strategies and plans have worked for your small business in the past and then launch a successful marketing campaign that will propel your small business towards a successful and lucrative end to the year. What are some marketing strategies you can employ to ensure your small business finishes out the year on a high note?

Clearly Understand Where You Are And Where You Need To Be

Entrepreneurs and small business owners often enter the holiday season and/or fourth quarter with a narrow, short-term focus on producing strong results before the end of the year. While this is certainly important, it also helps to have a clear understanding of where you are in relation to your yearly, quarterly, and monthly goals. While it is certainly important to finish the year on a strong note, blowing through your marketing budget unnecessarily at the end of the year can leave you unprepared to meet your goals in the first half of the new year. By fully understanding and calculating how much of an investment you need to make in your holiday and fourth quarter marketing, you can be better prepared to meet your long-term goals and objectives.

Concentrate On The Product Or Service Most Likely To Be Successful

There are times throughout the year when introducing a new product or service, or attempting to realign or even rebrand your business or your product or service line is a good idea, but the fourth quarter is rarely one of those times. Very few entrepreneurs or small business managers want to risk their business on an unproven product or service, but fewer still think of taking a step in the opposite direction. Your best chance to meet your holiday or end-of-year goals may be to “double-down” on the product or service that has been the most successful for you in the past and concentrate your marketing efforts on promoting that product or service. Be sure that the product or service you choose has proven to be successful during the holidays, and don’t just choose to continue promoting a successful product or service that may be a short-term or seasonal sensation that could potentially flame out at the worst possible time.

Highlight What Makes Your Small Business Unique

With the advent of sensational Black Friday shopping specials and cutthroat retailing pricing during the holiday season, it is unlikely that your small retail business can survive by competing head-to-head with the largest online and brick and mortar retailers during the holidays. Instead, the key to success during the holiday season can be to stress the ways your business is different from the larger retailers, or, depending on your industry, to find a profitable complimentary service that you can offer to the public. For instance, if you have chosen to give your retail employees Thanksgiving off to be with their families, share that with your customers. Many of your customers may actually appreciate the gesture and choose to frequent your store instead, once it reopens for business. On the other hand, if you own a restaurant or casual dining establishment near big box retailers, consider opening as early on Black Friday and offer food and beverages to the crowds of shoppers lining up to bargain hunt.