17 Pieces of Advice To Get Your Business Ready For The Holidays And Beyond

Is your business ready for the holiday rush? Start your engines! By Small Business Saturday, 63% of holiday shoppers will have already started their holiday shopping.* For small businesses, this represents a huge opportunity. Those same holiday shoppers plan to spend nearly $40 billion at local independent businesses this holiday season.**

To get you ready for the hoards of holiday shoppers, we’ve rounded up advice from some top local business owners.

17 Pieces Of Advice From Top Business Owners

1. Staffing Is More Than People. It’s A Team

“Staffing will be your biggest challenge, so be mentally prepared for it. Recruiting a team is one thing — retaining and continuously motivating them is another. Try to remind every staff member about the global effects of their actions. Even though they might not see it themselves, every action, every decision they make will have a ripple effect on a small business.”

– Emma Taylor of Milk Sugar Love, Jersey City, NJ

 2. Always Over-Communicate

Hal Dunbar of Patriot Pool and Spa Advice

“Communicate as much as you can, as fast as you can, as well as you can”

– Hal Dunbar of Patriot Pool and Spa, Austin, TX

3. Replying To Your Reviews Is A Marketing Opportunity

Kassie “KC” Guzzardi of Joe’s Pasta House, Rio Rancho, NM advice

“Replying to reviews: imperative. We all put blood, sweat, and tears into our small businesses, not everybody’s going to love you, that’s the way it is, but when you’re replying to a review it’s a wonderful marketing opportunity… because I can speak to our culture and what it is we really want to do. We get the chance to invite them back.”

– Kassie “KC” Guzzardi of Joe’s Pasta House, Rio Rancho, NM

4. You’re Always Part Of A Community

“Connect with the community in which you plan to do business. Get to know business owners in the area and attend networking events.”

– Tosha Williams of Dessert Fantasies, Baltimore, MD

5. Passion Will Help You Prevail

jack la tea 2 advice

“The most important part is to be passionate about what you do and never forget what drives you. This focus will keep you motivated along the journey when challenges and obstacles may arise.”

– Jack Hsiao of Latea Bubble Tea Lounge, West Lafayette, IN

6. Goodwill Not Greed

“Goodwill is everything you see but don’t expect. There was a saying on Wall Street: Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered. Greed is not a motivation for running a small business. The reason we try to put a smile on our customer’s faces at every meal, the reason we gave our employees health insurance, the reason we opened on Memorial Day and threw a party for our customers when we should have been closed, is because of goodwill.”

-Paul Sipple of TKB Deli, Indio, CA

7. The Customer Is Always #1

“Make your customers your first priority…ALWAYS. Treat everyone who walks in the door as if they are the best customer you’ve ever had, without exception. Listen to them and remember them. They’ll almost certainly remember you, so make it a good memory!”

– Chad and Krisi Hora of Peg Leg Vintage, College Park, MD

8. Take Note

“Take notes on everything. What you liked and disliked about any experience you’ve encountered, about the achievements and new products of your competitors, about any book or article that someone highly recommends that relates to your field.”

– Yulia Stolkner of Sip of Europe, Portland, ME

9. Presence Isn’t A Present. It’s A Necessity.

Debbie Rabinovici of Cafe Curuba, Coral Gables, FL advice

“To be present. In Spanish, we have a saying, ‘el que tiene tienda que la atienda,’ which translates to something like ‘if you have a store, be there.”

– Debbie Rabinovici of Cafe Curuba, Coral Gables, FL

10. Sustainable Is More Important Than Splashy

“When it comes to success, sustainability is more important than splash: my advice is to reach out to your small business community partners for resources.”

– Monique Herzig of Alchemy Slow Living Studio, Ferndale, MI

11. It Always Starts With Smiling

“A smile and a friendly attitude will take you a long way. Identify and address customer issues before they develop. Sense when a customer is not happy and be the one to acknowledge and ask about their concerns. You’ll be able to draw out and address issues up front and customers will appreciate your proactive approach.”

– Renee and Chris Thomas of Escape This, Madison, WI

12. If You Build It, Build It So You Can Take Some Time Off

Russell Carter of Body Cycle Studio, Philadelphia, PA

“But take the time to plan your business exactly how you want, so that you can take yourself out of the equation for occasional time-off.”

– Russell Carter of Body Cycle Studio, Philadelphia, PA

13. Failure Is An Opportunity

Tran Willis of BASECOAT Salon

“Every single time you fail, get back up, keep moving, learning, and evolving from that failure that in return will always open another door to another amazing opportunity or idea.”

– Tran Wills of Base Coat Nail Salon, Denver, CO

14. Perfect Is Impossible. Just Go For It

“Don’t buy into the lie that everything has to be perfect before you launch your business. Your branding, marketing, and even your product will evolve and change as you go. Just get started.”

– Brittany Lyne of Farm & Haus, Orlando, Florida

15. It Takes Time To Fly

Brian Molina of Home Brewed Bar, Pasadena, CA

“Give yourself some time for your product to get its wings, but make sure you use each hour of the day efficiently. Set goals and set milestones. Be ready to grind. Hustle!”

– Brian Molina of Home Brewed Bar, Pasadena, CA

16. Be Your Own Customer

Yelp small business Core Kitchen

Be your own customer first! Every day ask yourself if you are making something that you love. The world needs more honesty, more vulnerability, more passion, and more heart. It’s going to feel hard sometimes…you’ll be tempted to cut an easy corner. But nothing easy has ever been rewarding. Choose the path that makes the most difference!

– Corey Rennell of Core Kitchen, Oakland, CA

17. The Value Is In The Journey

Jan and Helen of Sweet Republic in Phoenix, AZ

“It’s about the journey, not the destination… about waking up every day with a passion for every aspect of your business, down to the dirtiest, most avoided part of the job… about finding and partnering up with terrific people and nurturing the talent on your team. There will be problems that you can’t imagine or expect, and you can’t underestimate the amount of patience, persistence, and perspiration that will be required for your business to get off the ground and to succeed.”

– Jan Wichayanuparp of Sweet Republic, Phoenix, AZ


Now that you’re armed with this new-found wisdom, go forth and have a wonderful holiday season. For more advice and tips, feel free to check out the “Success Stories” section of our blog for all of our business owner features.


*Based on a recent Yelp-commissioned survey conducted online by Harris Poll among over 2,000 U.S. adults. Holiday shoppers refers to those who will shop for gifts this holiday season and are likely to shop locally

**Based on 234.6 million American adults (according to US 2010 Census) multiplied by 63% of Americans likely to shop local this holiday season multiplied by average spend of $267.20 = $39,491,625,600





The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.