The end of year business dilemma is the end of year sales, Christmas sales, holiday sales…everywhere sales. It is easy to get wrapped up in these common tactics. Throw in the entry of Amazon into the market, and businesses are increasingly finding themselves at a crossroads. How can they make money and compete?

Take a breath and think about your brand position first.

Business owners, before you agree to discount everything, consider whether this is what your customers even looking for? Is a sale the answer? Is discounting and price their sole driver?

There are many items where price is what it comes down to, particularly when you are selling products which can be purchased from multiple sources. However even then, do not underestimate the value people will place on ‘service’ and ‘locality’. Far too often businesses are ignoring their strengths and any differentiation they have from competitors.

There is a difference between value for money and cheap. There is similarly a difference between affordable and budget. These four words all have different meanings to consumers, the question is which is correct for your business. Often it is better if you are none of these because you immediately have a point of differentiation in the market.

You must always consider the perception which comes as the baggage with any words you choose to describe a business activity. These words are fundamental to your communications and marketing and can have a profound impact on your brand and therefore its position in the market.

So what do you do when you are feeling pressured by the end of the year?

The end of year business dilemma_image.pngThe interesting thing about the end of the year is it creates artificial deadlines for most businesses. If you are selling things which fall into the potential holiday gift category, the end of the year is important, but most do not. Don’t make rash decisions because you said you wanted this done in 2017. It may be stating the obvious but moving from 31 December to 1 January is just a day. Other than the date (which changes every day anyway), nothing has changed.

Use the end of the year to take a closer look at your business. Could your brand story be modified to modify your audiences? For some, it might be about better targeting to get more from a select base, while for others it might able about expanding the reach. Don’t assume or be forced into playing the game the big boys play. They don’t have to write the rules for your business.

The secret to solving the end of year business dilemma most likely lies in your communications and marketing. For most businesses, this is an area which lies in neglect most of the year and then suddenly your react and hurriedly role out campaigns without consideration for their longer-term implications.

Don’t be a victim. Now is a chance to be considered, because the deadlines don’t really matter, but the future of your business does.