Tiffany Loh
Smarter Writer

Tiffany Loh is the Smarter Business™ & News and Digital Editor, with varied writing experience always looking for a unique story

Tiffany Loh
Smarter Writer

Tiffany Loh is the Smarter Business™ & News and Digital Editor, with varied writing experience always looking for a unique story

Spring is in full swing. All around the country the weather is warming up, and for many, business is flourishing.

We speak to three business owners who share their expert advice for dealing with holiday highs and seasonal spikes.

flowers and plants

Stuart White, Director, Jodie McGregor Flowers and Emergency Flowers

Stuart White is one part of the husband-wife duo behind multi-award winning florists Jodie McGregor Flowers and Emergency Flowers.

“Getting it right for seasonal highs like Valentine's Day and Mother's Day is just like winning grand finals. It's a euphoric feeling that brings everyone together and is vital for the overall success of the business,” says Stuart.

Stuart's tips for management: 

1. Involve the team

For Mother's Day we always say that we'll plan much, much earlier next year. And then of course we don't. But this year we finally did!

We had a planning session with the team where we talked through everything that needed to be done – from the marketing plan, through to the ordering of flowers, and even down to the booking of the staff thank you dinner.

It felt great we were ready for anything, rather than feeling like we were going into an exam having only studied the night before.  

2. Test the status quo

The biggest and best thing we did though was stop and change our approach. For more than 10 years we've cleared out our home and used it as a workshop to prepare and make all the orders from. It had become inefficient and the layout didn't suit. Having flowers positioned for deliveries was tricky and there was so much double handling.

So this year we moved to a warehouse – it was so well laid out, so comfortable and so efficient. We had space to set things out exactly as we'd like – we were literally 50% more productive. Now we just need to be able to make sure we can find a warehouse next year – this was tricky. 

3. Think of the team first

We made it as nice for our team as we could, we organised thank you gifts, a night out to celebrate, loads of refreshments, fresh fruits and treats to eat and a happy environment. We made it an event to look forward to, rather than dread.

Yexin Liu, Founder, Nixeycles

Despite having to juggle his university studies and his growing bicycle business Nixeycles, Yexin Liu is always pedalling forward. Since the weather has warmed up and people are determined to get active, Yexin says he’s seen an influx of orders and has been able to keep on top of it all with by forward planning and the help of great team members and vendors. 

Yexin's tips for recruitment: 

1. Seek out multiple vendors 

When the sun is out, people want to seize the day. So don’t make your customers wait. Do your research before peak season and find out which vendors can deliver the best service for your needs.

For the freight of our products, we use multiple couriers depending on the customer’s shipping address. Local couriers specialise in a certain areas and can provide more efficient delivery for those suburbs, while bigger courier companies have multiple pick-up times which ultimately results in faster delivery to customers.  

2. Plan ahead for the busy season

With weather getting warmer, our sales typically increase. We ramp up the manufacturing of our bike several months prior the seasonal change, and letting all parties know about this well in advance. 

3. Recruit passionate people

When it gets busy, it’s often all hands on deck, so before the frenzy hits you want to be dealing with a dedicated team that you know will try their hardest to get the orders out as soon as possible. Our market director is known to step out of his daily duties to help fulfil orders.

Dean Salakas, Chief Party Dude, The Party People

Second-generation business owner Dean Salakas runs leading party store, The Party People, with his brother Peter.Calendar events are a constant in their business, which stocks costumes and party supplies for all sorts of holidays – from Halloween, Christmas, and Australia Day to more niche celebrations such as Elvis Day and the Superbowl.Dean says that he and his team have been ordering products for this month’s Halloween celebrations since late January – that’s how far in advance you need to plan!

Dean's tips for planning:

1. Plan

Have a schedule for everything to happen, even if it’s a loose schedule. It’s better to have a rough plan and modify it along the way than have no plan at all.We have a table that covers more than 39 events and 14 tasks each to do in the lead up.

So for Halloween, we know to start to order stock in late January. Our calendar that lists all the tasks we have to do in the lead up to the event, including staff planning, extended trading hours, stock arrival dates, merchandising dates.

2. Communicate

For every event we cater to we mark each task to get the stores ready on massive planner. This makes sure that everyone in the company involved from the buyer, web manager, inventory team and store manager, so everyone knows their part in the plan and is on top of the requirements.

3. Document

Write everything that happens during the season down on paper. This includes feedback from customers, staff and managers. It’s impossible to remember what product sold out last year or what customers said they wanted but you didn’t have.

When the event has finished, we start planning for the next year about two months later using this feedback.

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