Being an entrepreneur means learning as you go. Or some would say, making it up as you go along. The minute you get the hang of one thing, something else pops up that you ought to have known and been prepared for.

For example, did you know that the final quarter of the year is often the most profitable business period for small businesses? Now you do. According to a survey by American Express,  71% of brick-and-mortar retailers report the fourth quarter as their most profitable time of year. If it’s a profitable period you can bet it’s a busy period for you as the business owner, too.

Right now is the ideal time to plan in order to ensure your business makes the most of Q4. Leave it any later and you may just miss the boat.

Is your business ready to fully embrace Q4? Here are a few things you should be doing in preparation:

Take inventory

Get an idea of what you have and what you need to get or produce in order to cater to the demands of the holiday and/or sales season. This will also help with sales promotion and sales planning.

If your product volume is big enough, it may be worthwhile to make use of inventory management software. Zoho offers a free plan, but even their paid plans are pretty reasonable. It provides a simple, easy-to-understand dashboard, which is intuitive enough for even the most tech-averse among us.

Not in the budget? A carefully constructed spreadsheet could do the trick as well. The key here is to have a good idea of where your inventory stands. So, whichever tools and methods you end up using, just make sure you make good use of the information.

Get your admin ducks in a row

You’re going to want to be as organised as possible when the busier months roll around. It’s likely you may have been winging it when it comes your business’s admin, but a little order will go a long way to increase your chances of maximum success in Q4.

Perhaps it can all get a little overwhelming each time you attempt this on your own. There’s a better way: enlisting the services of a virtual assistant. It doesn’t require the investment or energy of onboarding a permanent employee, yet you reap the benefits of of having the support of an efficient, trustworthy remote assistant.

Ramp up your customer services

With increased business comes increased customers, and with that comes a need for a robust customer support system. Small-scale businesses may be able to handle this on their own for the better parts of the year, but if the business experiences a significant spike in activity during Q4, it’s recommended to boost the customer services to match.

Seeing to sales, inventory, marketing and operations is a tall order, especially during Q4. It’s so easy for things like customer service to take a back seat. This should be avoided as it could be detrimental to you business and brand.

It’s possible to hire an outsourced customer support liaison for the busier months. Though a temporary hire, it could be a massive investment in your business, considering the effects of neglecting customer services in the busiest period of the year.

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