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Between traveling, shopping, cooking, shoveling, and entertaining, adding one more thing to your already overflowing holiday plate may seem crazy. I opened my first ecommerce store on Thanksgiving seven years ago, and while I wouldn’t recommend tackling something that big while mashing potatoes, there are several huge advantages to getting moving on an idea now. In fact, the holidays mstay be one of the best times of the year to start a business.
Before you shake your head and click away, notice I said, “start” and not “launch.” We sometimes put off starting our dreams because we think it has to be perfect. The holidays are a great time to test, learn, and grow so that the next holiday shopping season you’ll be ready to rocket your sales. Don’t believe me? Check out these four reasons why the holidays might be the most wonderful time of the year for starting a new business.
1. Holiday small talk can be a big chance for research
Whether it’s a spouse’s work party, a cash register line, or you’re seated at the kiddie table, you’ll likely have hours of small talk over the next few weeks. Why not turn a few of those conversations into ad hoc focus groups to hash out an idea?
If you already have a product in mind, great, try practicing your pitch or figuring out how you should price it. If you don’t have a product idea yet, no problem. Find out what people are buying for others and where they’re shopping. Any common themes or interesting ideas might help you zero in on an opportunity.
Pro Tip: Don’t just bounce ideas off of friends and family, especially if they rarely give you honest feedback on other things. Seek out a few strangers, or better yet, a few strangers that have started a business before.
2. You can get gifts that grow your business
How many times a year does anyone ask you “what can I buy you for a present?” If you’re like me, it’s rare you know how to respond. Take advantage of that question this year and get your stocking stuffed with gifts to grow a business.
Pro Tip: Subscriptions to business magazines like Inc., Entrepreneur, Fortune, Forbes, and Business Week are relatively inexpensive and keep the tips coming all year long. Gift certificates for essentials like design services, business cards, software, or even coffee can also come in handy. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our ecommerce blog.
3. It’s a great time to watch and learn
Many retailers and ecommerce stores live and die by the success of their holiday sales, making it a great opportunity to see what others are doing to stand out. Pick a few of your favorite stores, or even potential competitors, and become a student of their businesses. Pay attention to things like:
- Website design and copy changes
- When they send out marketing emails
- Shipping deadlines
- The types of discounts they run
- Social media activity
4. You can get a jump on your New Year’s resolutions
Most New Year’s resolutions fail because we commit to changing too much, too quickly, and get overwhelmed. If you’re looking to start your own business, try staggering your goals. Focus on diet and exercise when there’s less temptation around in January, and start a financial/career resolution now.
Research shows that goals are far more achievable when taken in small measurable chunks, so no matter how small the activity, commit to doing one thing each week to move your business aspirations forward. For example, focus this week on finding a product to sell, next week to decide on a business name, and reserve the following week for a free trial on a popular ecommerce platform (hint, hint). Before long all the actions you’re taking will start to add up to something real.
The most important thing to remember is that starting a business this holiday season gives you 365 days to get good at it before next year!
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