Probably every restaurateur’s most important season. Holidays are just as important for retailers and ecommerce sites as restaurants, hotels, personal services like salons, even business services like accountants and lawyers—the holiday season is often the busiest time of year. For some businesses, the holidays can represent almost half of annual sales. Remember, during the holidays, people are in the mood to buy.

So it’s time to get ready!

Top holiday planning goals:

1. Get customers—99 ways below.

2. Choose the right products and menu—Think like a holiday shopper!

What do they need or want during this season? Focus on those.

Create holiday-themed drinks, desserts, or meal items.

3. Be smart about money—it’s absolutely necessary to be Profitable—Having a plan will make it a reality.

4. Create a people plan— Successful holidays depend on having enough well-trained staff to handle the additional workload you’ll face during this season. Train, Train, Train! And be sure to motivate your team with incentives tied to goals!

Start here! Reach existing customers

Offer “returning customer” special holiday discounts

Hold a holiday party or open house

Send holiday cards and gifts

Send email newsletters, special offers & new products

Engage them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

Send a physical direct mail piece with a holiday promotion

Launch a loyalty program

99Ways to get MORE CUSTOMERS this holiday!

1 2016 calendars with logo on them 2 Fun YouTube video 3 Hold a Fundraiser 4 Holiday lunches with clients 5 Send holiday card to existing customers 6 Holiday tips on Facebook page 7 Holiday open house 8 Thanksgiving cards 9 Cookies & cider 10 Holiday ‘Tweetchat’ 11 Decorate your store 12 “Decorate” your website 13 Attend holiday networking parties 14 Partner with other business 15 Holiday fair booth 16 Take cookies to homeless shelter 17 Friends & Family cookie making day 18 Free gift wrapping 19 Email greetings to customers 20 Special holiday menu 21 Holiday pre-fix dinner 22 Holiday banner outside 23 Pumpkin pie making lessons 24 Holiday table decor 25 Host a Holiday Tasting event for community 26 Holiday webinar 27 Table Tents dressed like Santa 28 Holiday Specials Board 29 Holiday Cookies 30 Direct mail 31 Holiday email newsletter 32 Holiday specials in newspaper 33 Advertise on Facebook 34 Sponsor local holiday event 35 Live band 36 Sell gift cards 37 Complimentary cookies & milk Christmas eve 38 Promote banquet room or group dining 39 Family shopping day 40 Holiday banner ads 41 Valet Parking 42 Contest on Facebook 43 “Hang out” on Google+ 44 Free holiday ornaments 45 Pre-season “Pie” sale 46 “Most-wanted gift” signs 47 Holiday window display 48 Pre-wrapped holiday gifts 49 Radio ad 50 Ladies night 51 Guys night 52 Discount for new Facebook Fans 53 Encourage Yelp reviews 54 Carolers! 55 Roll-back-the-clock sale 56 Deal-of-the-day on social media 57 Create a holiday guide 58 Celebrate more than just Christmas 59 Hold charity food drive 60 Build your mailing list 61 Extend your hours 62 Holiday music 63 Cute dog in window 64 Update your online store 65 Create holiday landing page 66 Create holiday search terms 67 Santa hats! 68 Black Friday special 69 Cyber Monday special 70 Weekly email holiday specials 71 Bundle holiday dinner with hotel stay 72 Holiday Tree Trimming event 73 Free gift for kids 74 Early-booking discounts 75 Free desserts for liking you on Facebook 76 Create Pinterest page 77 Holiday recipe book for your restaurant 78 Cookie-baking contest 79 Holiday Shopping bags with logo 80 Holiday sidewalk sale 81 Create gift baskets to sell 82 Holiday picture taking day 83 Photo contest on your Facebook page 84 Visit from Santa 85 Wreath Making & Hot Cider event 86 Gift ideas on your website 87 Deliver locally 88 Offer a shopping ‘concierge’ 89 Fresh poinsettias 90 Holiday scavenger hunt 91 Partner with nearby merchants 92 Google Ad Words Express 93 Organize parade on your street 94 Huge ribbon around store 95 Gift wrapped “doggy bags” 96 Holiday coloring contest 97 Create a loyalty program 98 Develop a holiday app 99 After Christmas Menu.

Better Together

Increase your holiday impact — and stretch your holiday dollars —by partnering with other businesses.

• Throw a holiday party or tasting event with a few other businesses to share each other’s customers and budget

• Collaborate with your neighboring businesses on a printed holiday shopping guide with offers

• Pool resources for a direct mail piece

• Plan holiday events and promotions think Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with businesses in your mall, district, neighborhood, or network.

Ways to meet more people

• Look for community, industry, and neighborhood holiday parties and mixers

• Volunteer at a local food bank, toy drive, or cause

• Offer your place of business for a charity’s holiday event

• Organize a holiday get-together at a local sporting venue

• Set up a “meet up” to turn online contacts into real-life connections

• Anyone up for caroling?