You might already know that it's called Black Friday because the day after Thanksgiving is when many retailers go from in the red (in debt or not making a profit during the year) to in the black (making a profit). Whether you're a retailer or not, you should tuck away for safe-keeping many other holiday statistics. Knowing the figures and where you stack up can help you plan a more strategic end-of-year campaign--or at the very least help you prepare for the 2015 holidays in advance.

There are good stats (like that Black Friday fact) and dismal ones, such as the fact that impaired driving increases during the holidays. However, knowledge is power and that's exactly what you need to end Q4 on the best note possible. Consider these statistics related to entrepreneurship and small businesses to see where you stand, what you can do to stack the odds in your favor, and what the competition is facing, too.

1. The average person spends just over $420 on holiday gifts

That figure has nothing to do with legalization of a certain drug (although High Times has high hopes going into 2015). However, it's important to know what the "average" customer is willing to shell out so you can price items accordingly. Just keep in mind that consumers might be shopping for a number of people within that budget, so their actual spending per item could be lower.

2. Shopping peaks in November

The majority of men and women (36 percent) say they start holiday shopping in November, but don't worry. You haven't missed the mark just because December is in full swing--25 percent of men and 12 percent of women say they begin shopping in December. Since twice as many men as women procrastinate on their shopping, you may want to focus your campaigns on your male shoppers. The good news is that, according to The Wall Street Journal, more and more men are picking up shopping duties in general, so you have your work cut out for you.

3. "Family" budgets near $750

While the average person will spend under $500 on holiday gifts, the average family is slated to spend almost $750. This can help guide your marketing efforts if you provide services or goods that appeal to families with children as opposed to the average single person.

4. 56 percent of Americans shop the day before Christmas

People of both genders still put off an item or two, which is why the majority of Americans in general (56 percent) will shop for at least one item on Christmas Eve. Milk this month for all its worth, and consider offering a deal that can't be resisted even just a few hours before one of the biggest holidays celebrated in the U.S.

5. Most people want to purchase gift cards

Of all the options on the table from electronics to toys, the majority of Americans (69.2 percent) would prefer to give their friends and family gift cards this season. This means that if your business doesn't already offer gift cards (and promote them), that needs to be added to the agenda. It's easy, very cost effective (many people never use the cards they're gifted or the whole amount) and is an easy way to clean up at the end of Q4.

Your business plan and yearly strategy will always need to take into account the holiday shopping season. For many businesses, November and December is the time when you make the most profit. Once December comes to a close, it's time to assess how well you did and look at ways to improve for the following year, even if it was a big success. If your bottom line isn't cutting it, you need a new strategy.

Published on: Dec 8, 2014
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.