Have you taken a moment to review how profitable your year has been to date? And how you plan to end on a strong note?

For many businesses, the last quarter of the calendar year presents the opportunity to increase sales and profitability. Businesses aligned with seasonal and holiday markets look toward this quarter as an important cash generator. Even if your operation does not link directly to the holidays, however, you can plan for capturing some of the retail enthusiasm with preparation and creativity.

To capture last quarter consumer confidence, review all of your promotional and marketing plans to find advertising niches best suited to your business. Use your creativity to promote seasonal opportunities with reserve or special products and services.

If you have a marketing club, this is the quarter to encourage renewed member participation in the form of referrals and gift packages. Also consider creating parallel promotions with select partners for cooperative advertising and increased visibility.

Looking forward, give consumers a glimpse of what you have planned for next year as well. If you will be offering new product varieties, have special events planned, will be changing hours or adding new services, let buyers in on the plans to spark continued interest and encourage visits.

Prepare for end of year sales by checking with your wholesale and retail outlets. Plan for anticipated consumer purchasing with the packaging, transportation and inventory needs you may require. Match those factors with labor requirements and additional help so you have adequate staffing throughout the season.

Especially at this time of year, customers are in a hurry to get all their holiday plans in order. They will expect prompt and helpful service with a smile. Employees need to be prepared to go above and beyond in responding to and resolving customer concerns.

In creating promotions, remember to highlight the unique benefits of your product or service. This is the season people search for meaningful life stories, and sharing your own history will help consumers understand and appreciate your unique operation.

End the calendar year on a strong note by taking the time to review and adjust your marketing plans. Building a loyal customer base through visibility and engagement should be a core goal for your success.

The above information is provided for educational purposes and should not be substituted for professional business and legal counseling.