Around February, time takes a small sojourn in China as the whole country prepares for ushering in the Chinese New Year.
Small businesses across the globe that have suppliers from China also buckle up their seats for the upcoming holidays. That’s because the only places desolate during the Lunar New Year celebrations are workspaces.
Machines stop clanking and desktops stop working for around two weeks or so. The break sometimes even lasts longer. This means orders may take time to fulfill, and many might be left in limbo if workers decide to visit their families a week ahead of the official shutdown period.
To avoid last-minute hiccups and bumps in your business operations, it’s best to make adequate preparations beforehand to tide over any need or shortfall. Follow these steps, and you’ll be ready to take on whatever the Year of the Ox brings!
Small Business Tips to Avoid the Chinese New Year Hustle and Bustle
Know your requirements
If your business is partly or fully dependent on products or services imported from China, you have your work cut out for you. Ahead of the Chinese New Year shutdown, have a concrete list of your requirements for the next month or two.
It helps to create a rundown of the logistical data of your business from February going all the way to April. To help you assess how the season affects your business, you can take an average of the data from the previous few years.
Stock up on bestsellers
Bestsellers are the cash cows of a firm, and it’ll hurt your business’s balance sheet if they’re compromised, whatever the reason might be.
It would be a terrible shame to run out of popular seasonal items at that time of the year when several opportunities like Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras are around the corner.
To avoid this grievous mistake, make sure you begin stocking up on your chartbusters before January. Your competitors will start putting out huge orders by that time.
Overwhelming demand and partial workforce might affect productivity at Chinese factories, ultimately leading to delays and non-fulfilment of orders.
To maintain a safety margin, the general rule of thumb is to start placing orders by the beginning of December.
It takes around a month or so for final goods to roll over from the factory, so placing orders in the last week of November or the first week of January will provide you room to breathe from the last-minute hassle.
Consider other options
Putting all eggs in the same basket has never worked for anyone.
The Chinese New Year shutdown might turn out to be an opportunity for you to diversify your supplier list. Heavy dependence on only one source can land you in a soup if emergencies arise.
For instance, suppose you run out of the hottest selling product in the middle of the season. What would you do?
Consider stocking your inventory from a variety of sources. Not only would it introduce variety, but it can also act as a safety net during extraordinary times like CNY.
This is also the time to network. You can announce a call for samples on all your social media accounts and on your website for greater viewership.
Don’t have a website yet? It’s high time to create one — that is if you’re serious about your online presence.
There are dozens of hosting providers out there, but it pays to choose the best web hosting provider that can keep your website afloat amidst high traffic surges.
Quality is key
Suppliers are always left hankering for hands to work with since it’s been observed that workers don’t arrive back to the factory provinces on time. Sometimes, they never come back.
With a hampered workforce and the pressure of pent-up demand, things can go wrong.
Make sure to perform stringent quality checks on your business’s end to avoid facing embarrassing situations later. With sub-par products, you could lose not only your clientele but the very reputation you and your employees worked hard to build.
Avoid making advance payments
It rarely happens, but some factories pull the shutter down for good before the New Year shutdown. They may have been planning to do so for a long time, but wait it out for the auspicious New Year celebrations to step on to a novel endeavour.
And if you’ve paid an advance for delivery of products post-holidays, you could end up being fleeced off your investment.
Bonus Tip: Take your offline business online
If you don’t have a website yet for your small business, you’re missing out on a lot. Having a website helps you streamline the ordering process for your customers.
Say you’ve run out of stocks for a certain product due to the CNY bustle. Simply update your inventory in your system so customers would know right away that it isn’t available at the moment. This way, you don’t keep your customers’ hopes up and leave them disappointed.
There are many ways to create a website. But for starters, a good web hosting plan can help you launch one for less. Getting cheap web hosting doesn’t mean it isn’t any good. You only need to ensure its features cater to your business needs best.
Business as usual
Your business shouldn’t suffer from this seasonal hiccup. Prepare ahead of the time and have measures in place to keep your business up and running.
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