United States
Staffed with 100% US Employees

Last Quarter of an Election Year- Concerns of Small Businesses

October 31, 2016 by Ed Becker


The final quarter of the year is typically spent gearing up for the holiday season, and finding as many tax breaks as possible. During this tenuous election year, small business owners are more concerned about the economy and about how the election results are going to affect their business.

Small business owners are concerned, and rightly so, about the effects of healthcare reform with a new president, the economic tides and the upcoming holiday season. These are very valid concerns. These concerns  have small business owners not wanting to grow too fast and not wanting to hire new employees as they are concerned about 2017 employee healthcare requirements. As many as 1/3 of small business owners who answered a survey for the final quarter stated that they had concerns about this election and final quarter, up from about ¼ in previous surveys.

Online sales are projected to increase up to 16% from last year. This is a great sign that should improve the outlook for small business owners who have concerns about this election and quarter’s profits.  Even if you are more a brick and mortar type business, you can tap into online sales by enticing customers into your business and giving them great service and products.

Of course, we cannot predict or control the outcome of the election and both candidates have their own agendas, which we may or may not agree with, but we will have to live with and succeed with in 2017. So what are small business owners to do in this final quarter in order to ensure a great year and more positive outlook on the future?

You do the normal 4th quarter things you always do!

  • Check inventory (if you carry)

Final quarter inventory needs to be appropriately scaled for the holiday season. If you have a leader sales item, ensure that you have the stock to cover it and will be able to reorder if necessary. If reordering or question about stock is a concern, choose a backup leader item that can easily be substituted.

  • Hire seasonal staff (if needed)

Hiring seasonal staff may seem like an added expense since you do not need them right this moment but you will need them when business picks up.   Seasonal staff need to be  fully trained and experienced with their job before the mad shopping rush. Hiring a few part-time employees early in the season and training them, and having them work a few hours a week can be a good way to start off seasonal staff.  Factor in turnover, when you figure out how many seasonal employees you may need.  Not every person will be a good fit. Kohl’s stores have a pretty decent seasonal hiring process. They schedule interviews in groups of 10-15, and then they train as many as possible in a group setting. After training,  prior to Thanksgiving seasonal employees are only promised 4 hours per week. This gives them hands on training before the mad shopping rush, and keeps labor hours low until they are needed. This type of model could be shifted to work with most small business types.

  • Review business and marketing plans

For small businesses a large percentage of their marketing budget is spent on the holiday season. If you do not normally do quarterly reviews of business and marketing plans and budgets, you definitely need to do this now. Many marketing plans will begin holiday marketing by the end of this month and definitely by the first week of November.

You have to know where you are in terms of numbers and where you are going. What your projected numbers are and what your budget looks like for the 4th quarter. If you have had a strong year, you may not have to tweak a lot. But if you have had a less than great year, seasonal is where you hope to make it up.



Related Posts