Delaware Business Blog

Preparing Your Small Business for Holiday Season with the SBA

By Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho

The holiday shopping season is here and according to the National Retail Federation’s Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent this year. The U.S. Small Business Administration can help small business prepare for the holiday rush.

Don’t forget that Small Business Saturday is Saturday, Nov. 24. If you are a small business, get involved with this nationwide initiative. You can access free marketing materials, including sample posters, press releases and social media updates by visiting www.smallbusinesssaturday.com – and support the small businesses in your community by shopping at one that Saturday.

Whether it’s financing seasonal working capital needs, updating marketing plans or hiring temporary workers, SBA can help guide small businesses to maximize sales this holiday season.

Get help financing your seasonal working capital needs
If your small business needs help meeting short-term and cyclical working capital needs, SBA’s CAPLines Program might be for you. From contracting to purchase orders, CAPLines provides financing through a revolving line of credit. This helps more small businesses get the cash-on-hand to manage their cash cycle, scale up and create jobs. SBA streamlined the program this year to make it easier for small business owners to get financing even if collateral is tight.

During the 2012 fiscal year, SBA backed $57.7 million in Delaware loans, guaranteeing 133 loans in total. This is a 13% increase from the agency’s 2011 Delaware loan volume of 118 loans and a 73% increase in dollars lent, up from $33.3 million in FY 2011. This also exceeds the all-time record for SBA-backed dollars lent in Delaware, set in 2006 at $42.3 million.

Hiring temporary or seasonal workers
If you plan to hire temporary or seasonal workers at your small business, be aware that some of the laws and regulations that apply to full-time employees differ from those that apply to seasonal or part-time employees. For example, independent contractors and employees are not the same and it’s important to understand the difference. Take the time to review who is covered by Equal Employment Opportunity laws, determine whether a person is an independent contractor or an employee, and which are covered under federal laws. Don’t forget that labor laws still apply to seasonal workers, as do some benefit and tax laws.

Holiday marketing tips
There are endless ways to promote your small business during the holiday season – here are just a few budget-friendly tips that you can consider:

  • Use your website and social media to promote your business: This is true year-round, but your online presence, email marketing, and social media networks are great ways to connect with local consumers during the holiday season through timely updates, compelling calls-to-action and promotions or discounts. You may want to consider developing holiday themes for your e-mail templates and updating your website and Facebook profile picture with a festive look.
  • Host an open house: You can use the holiday season as an opportunity to host an “open house” at your business to give customers an opportunity to check out your merchandise or holiday menus.
  • Get involved in community and charitable events: Supporting a charity or sponsoring a community event is a great way to increase awareness for your business during the holidays. Even if you don’t have the budget to donate large sums of money, there are other ways to get involved, such as offering volunteering services, equipment or even space.
  • The holiday season can be overwhelming for some small businesses, but SBA is here to help. Our goal is to provide the tools and resources for small businesses to start, grow and succeed. Visit SBA’s website www.sba.gov to learn more about preparing your small business for the holiday season or to find your local SBA office for one-on-one service.

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