How to Cure Your Financial Hangover from Holiday Retail

Last Updated on January 7, 2019

It’s been a week since New Years, and the pang of nausea still visits every morning to you wake up.

As it turns out, the financial hangovers that retailers suffer post-holidays are screamingly similar to physical ones.

Headache. Upset stomach. General anxiety. Maybe a hint of depression.

The vague feeling that you made a terrible business decision, but can’t think of what it was.

Or maybe you just don’t remember? What’s more likely: you remember perfectly, but don’t want to.

Whether you’re waking up full of regret or denial, at least one of these is for certain:

  • You spent way more than planned
  • Your store is having difficulty adjusting back into reality
  • Everyone is overworked, overtired, or both
  • You’re at once relieved that the rush is over, and hate how you’re not making as much as you used to just a day or two ago

Here’s the 8 steps you can take to cure your financial hangover get your financials and operations back on track, and help your business return to normalcy after the madness of the holiday season.

how to cure your financial hangover from holidays in retail

Step 1: Accept that You’re a Financial Mess,
& Know You’re NOT Alone!

The first step on the road to recovery is acceptance.

Before you can start to get better, you need to feel secure in doing so. So here’s some facts to make you feel better:

Anyway you look at it, financial hangovers are the worst.

But they’re an inevitable experience that every retailer must face beginning in the few days following New Years.

It’s like a right of passage, and is typically a great (ironic) indicator to the health of a successful business.

Financial hangovers indicate that there was stress involved during the holidays. Stress comes from needing to work harder, and address more customers.

The bigger the hangover, the more sales you likely made, for better or worse.

So if you’re waking up with a headache – congratulations! It means you must be among the retailers that succeeded at doing at least something right.

Step 2: Get Some Rest…
BEFORE Hitting the Books

We’re not kidding.

Your time to hit the books and pour over the full extent of the damage caused will come.

It’ll hit you harder and faster than you think.

And you’ll wish that you took a day or three to chill out, before diving right in to the next big thing, so soon after the holidays.

Business owners need to do this for two important reasons:

  1. Employers will get into problem-solving mode with a clear mind upon their return, having gained some more distance from the holiday stress and anxiety. You can expect less panic, more accurate analyses, and laser-focused productivity in finding solutions as a result.
  2. Same goes for employees. They need to be cut a whole lot of extra slack, post-holidays. Their vacations went way too fast. They’re in disbelief, already back at work, with holiday magic a whole year away, once again. Taking out your company’s financial strain on them so soon after the holidays might be (one) of the most cruel things an employer can do. Cut them some slack, and give them a few days to grieve.

In all seriousness, getting a completely objective and detailed look at the big-picture reason as to why and how your financial hangover came about is extremely important.

This can’t be achieved in the first week or two post-holidays.

We’re not saying you and your workers should take the next couple weeks off (although if you can, go for it).

We’re saying you should at least find some time for yourself to rest and reflect, and congratulate your employees on surviving another holiday season.

Step 3: Look Ahead, Not Behind
(At Least Not Yet)

Before you start kicking yourself for your past mistakes, look ahead to see what still needs to be done, before you make any more in the future.

Before you can start the healing process, you need to take care of yourself.

Take care of any pressing business expenses, and/or any that are already past due before going any deeper.

Not only will it alleviate a lot of the pain and pressure while you’re going through your holiday financials, but you’ll also get a more accurate picture as to what you’re really dealing with.

Eliminate the current stresses of payments before you account for your gains vs. losses, so you can see exactly how much you have to work with afterwards.

What if you can’t? Is that the whole cause of your financial hangover? If so, you just killed two birds with one stone.

More good news: there’s a ton of short-term financing options that businesses can get in 24 hours to pay off anyone, for any amount, exactly when they need to.

We’re not bragging – just a fact of business life in 2019! Get a load of these: Short Term Financing

If not, good for you! Maybe. Could be that you made a much harder mistake (for most) to fix.

Step 5: Confront Your Mistakes Head-On

The trick is to be as honest and objective about your financial plan for the holidays as you can.

Confront the impulse purchases that’s weighing down your inventory with the intention not to blame others for it, but to move past it, and begin your business’s journey to redemption.

Schedule however much time you need to go over how each individual aspect of your financial plan for the holidays.

What strategies and operations turned a profit, and what left you with migraines?

Run the numbers. What products surprised you as to how quickly they ran out, or how quickly they were rejected?

Analyze the efficiency and effectiveness of every operation thoroughly.

How much did you spend on transportation of inventory to your store? Was it worth the cost?

Did you get a return on the products you promised would sell best? How did your holiday profits compare to previous years?

The more you explore every nook and cranny of your financial records, the more you save, and the more you’ll earn next year.

And whatever you do, don’t get sentimental! It’s not good for business.

Step 6: Educate Yourself Back to Sanity

Did you really do as poorly as you think during the holidays?

The answer might surprise you – in a good way (hopefully)!

A truly effective audit of your business’s success during the holidays involves being as thorough and detailed as possible.

The more thorough you are, the more effective your solution will be, and the less likely you are to make the same mistake in the future.

What’s more – most business owners feel immediate hangover relief due to the fact that they’re in less financial trouble than initially thought.

So who knows? Maybe your business didn’t do as poorly as you think.

In fact, there’s a good chance that your financial hangover isn’t really a holiday mistake, as much as it is a non-seasonal issue.

Most retailers are happy to find that it’s not a holiday blunder, but a general issue (or bundle of issues) that can be easily resolved to keep minimizing costs, and increasing sales all year round.

Step 7: Find a Support System You Can Rely On
(HINT: Your Customer Base is a Great Place to Start)

If you’re having trouble doing this alone, your customers are always your most honest source of feedback.

Take to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Ask your customers how their gifts were received.

Tell them to post ‘reaction videos’ to your feed. The more extreme they are, from happy to appalled, the better.

Customers love being impressed by businesses that take pride in your accomplishments, but even more so by displays of humbleness and humor.

Now is the best time to own your mistakes, and be willing to laugh at them, instead of avoid them.

As more and more customers take hold of your positivity, your growing support system will be happy to support your journey back to financial recovery.

It’s also one of the most effective ways of being enlightened to aspects of your business that you’d never think you’d have to fix, or adjust.

Not just in terms of holiday finances, but year-round problems as well.

Step 8: Plan Ahead, Not Behind

Hindsight is easy. Planning for the unexpected is harder.

And it’s even harder during the financial slowdown of a post-holiday daze.

Maybe your cash flow is tight. Maybe you didn’t get the profit you wanted, and paying the bills on time is getting tough.

You’re returning to normal inventory, but you’re clogged up with items that didn’t sell.

Whatever your problem was, it’s time to take what you learned from your company’s audit and use it to plan for your business’s immediate and distant future.

If you need some financial help with smoothing things out until business returns to normal, give us a call at (877) 482-3008 to speak with a live representative, and ask them how they can get you the funds you need in as little as 24 hours.

Or, get rid of your financial hangover ASAP by filling out our free 1-minute application, and get your business the help it needs in hours, instead of weeks!

National Business Capital & Services is the #1 FinTech marketplace offering small business loans and services. Harnessing the power of smart technology and even smarter people, we’ve streamlined the approval process to secure over $1 billion in financing for small business owners to date.

Our expert Business Financing Advisors work within our 75+ Lender Marketplace in real time to give you easy access to the best low-interest SBA loans, short and long-term loans and business lines of credit, as well as a full suite of revenue-driving business services.

We strengthen local communities one small business loan at a time. For every deal we fund, we donate 10 meals to Feeding America!

Lauren Coppolone

About the Author, Lauren Coppolone

Disclaimer: The information and insights in this article are provided for informational purposes only, and do not constitute financial, legal, tax, business or personal advise from National Business Capital & Services and the author. Do no rely on this information as advice and please consult with your financial advisor, accountant and/or attorney before making any decisions. If you rely solely in this information it is at your own risk. The information is true and accurate to the best of our knowledge, but there maybe errors, omissions, or mistakes.