(Pulse Check #51) Holiday Offers

Becoming a healthcare entrepreneur allows me to hang out at the beach with my family during the holidays.
Hanging out with my family and in-laws this holiday season at the beach.

Healthcare Boss,

‘Tis the season to start getting bombarded with all of the holiday offers. It started even earlier this year because of all the supply chain issues.

The big retailers started their Black Friday deals back before Halloween. That kind of defeats the purpose of Black Friday…

Putting out holiday offers is getting more tricky each year. People expect them, but they're also desensitized to them.

And every business is starting them sooner and sooner, so the original reason for the offer is lost.

This is fine for the big retail giants that sell commodities and know that people will scoop up a 30-50% off, and the volume makes up for the margin loss.

But if you're a small business, those margins are what you use to feed your family, so don't get caught up in a race to the bottom.

Before throwing up your holiday offers with huge discounts, make sure the numbers work. The goal is to increase profit, not revenue.

A lot of businesses will shoot themselves in the foot with too big of a discount. Yes, they get a bunch of extra sales, but the discount was so large they haven't increased their profits.

Which means a lot more work for nothing. It could even mean a loss if your staff is working additional hours.

So what should you do instead?

If you stick with the steep discount, make sure you have a membership program or some larger package they can purchase when they come in.

Or you could change the discount from a percent off your services to a percentage off of a gift card. This allows people to get their discount but come in for the service at a later time.

You might even get some people who buy a few gift cards for friends and family to give as gifts. This might mean some additional sales and customers you wouldn't have gotten with a traditional discount.

Another option is running a contest or raffle instead. The key here is making the prize so incredible people would feel dumb not signing up.

Like a full year of your service for free, and after people sign up to enter the raffle, you'll offer them a smaller discount (maybe 20%).

This allows you to still attract tons of new people without having to offer as big of a discount. While people might be less excited about 20% off as the primary offer, they'll be delighted if it was a surprise bonus they weren't expecting.

A third option is to do nothing. Cards Against Humanity has gotten a lot of attention in the past for thumbing their nose at Black Friday sales by doing some pretty strange things instead of a deal.

While it may seem counterintuitive, it doesn't matter. It's your business, and you can do whatever you want. Maybe you'd rather spend Black Friday (or any part of the holidays) not working at all.

If that's a goal for your business, then running a sale might not make sense. Whatever your goals are, make sure your holiday plans align with them.

And get creative. It's becoming harder and harder to stand out, so you have to do something different.

Jason Duprat, MBA, MSA, APRN, CRNA