Unless you are a retailer or a business selling holiday-specific goods or services, now is not the time to seize opportunity.

It's the time to prepare for one. 

Quarter three can be loud and noisy in the marketplace, and your market may not really want to focus on your product or service right now. Would you give Grandma one of your widgets for Christmas? Does Aunt Rita want a dental cleaning for the holidays? If the answer is no, then you need to rethink your focus for the quarter and use this time to prepare for a huge first quarter.

Instead of spending your quarter trying to compete and blowing your budget on ad spend, focus on doing the things that will set you up for success in 2021. Here are my top three suggestions to end the year strong in preparation for the upcoming year.

Consider Your Website

With the ongoing global pandemic, so much more of buying will be online next year. Make sure your website is ready for it and it's up to date.

Do you have your most current sales copy published? Your best offers? Your best testimonials? Now is the time to invest in a copywriter and revisit your brand proposition. 

Make sure the purchase process is easy and straightforward, and consider if it could be streamlined. This might mean having two clicks to check out versus seven clicks, for example. Go through the purchase process with a fresh set of eyes and see where you can make the process easier and quicker for the end user. 

Also, make sure to set up an "abandoned cart" campaign. This usually means an increase in sales, so it's worth the effort.

Evaluate Your Inventory and Staff

Now is the time to look at your inventory levels and staffing needs and make sure that you have enough to cover any holiday purchases as well as orders for quarter one. This is especially true if you have a product or service that has a longer fulfillment time.

Beware of the urge to over purchase, as it can tie up cash and force you to sell it off in a rush post holidays at steep discounts to free up cash flow. Review current lead flow into your site, the average purchase amount per customer (unit of sale), and any past data to determine optimal levels for your business. If you have a service based business, look at staffing needs and hire accordingly.

Rethink Your Sales Process

Finally, you'll want to spend some time focusing on your sales process. Are there any areas that need work? Where in the sales process are you losing most of your prospects?  Find the one or two drop points that cause the most customer attrition and put all your best talent and attention to improving and fixing those drop points.

You'll also want to pay attention to your sales follow up campaigns. Do you have a drip campaign set up? Do you have an outbound call process set up? If you don't, then now is the time to think through the process and get things set up properly.