It’s that time of year again my friends. Here in the US, the leaves are changing colors, the sun is setting earlier (with extra help from daylight savings time) and many Americans are making plans for that special day that’s coming up this month….Black Friday.
If you’re not in the United States, here’s a quick Black Friday primer. Black Friday is the day after the American Holiday of Thanksgiving, which occurs on the 4th Thursday in November. It’s a symbolic kick off of the Christmas shopping season.
I have to tell you that I am one of those crazy people who loves Black Friday shopping, which is very ironic because I don’t enjoy shopping in general. Back when the stores used to open at 5am on Friday morning, my closest friends and I would load the car with camping chairs, blankets and a thermos of coffee so that we could sit in front of Target for hours waiting for the store to open and get the latest Elmo doll. I loved every minute that I spent in those cold, dark parking lots. There’s a certain type of comradely you develop with the people around you in line. Then there’s an excitement that comes when you walk into a store that is fully stocked and playing Christmas music. It made even the grinchiest shoppers like me feel merry and bright. This was back before stores started to open on Thanksgiving day and people acted crazy as they tried to get a discounted television.
Although I love Black Friday as a consumer, I don’t believe it’s always the right choice for a business. However, I do understand why it’s so tempting for entrepreneurs.
It’s called Black Friday because for many retailers, it’s the point where they go from being “in the red” to being “in the black.” That’s an accounting term because in handwritten ledgers, negative numbers were written in red ink. Black ink was used to positive numbers and indicate profitability. This means that many retailers operate at a deficit until Black Friday when they finally start to turn a profit.
Typically, on Black Friday retailers offer extreme discounts or sell products that are not available any other time of year in order to lure in buyers. With over 93 million people shopping online on Black Friday 2019, some experts will tell you that you’re missing out big time if you don’t run a sale or promotion.
I don’t agree with that. Experts are experts at running their business, not yours. While it’s true that their path to success may be similar to your path, it’s not a slam dunk. What’s right for them may not be what’s right for you. So instead of blindly trusting someone else’s process, even if it’s “conventional wisdom” let’s put you back in touch with your own innate wisdom.
Before you decide to jump into the Black Friday mosh pit, let’s take a moment to consider if it’s the right choice for you and your business. Let’s get right to it.
As an online entrepreneur, a Black Friday sale can be an opportunity to infuse your business with cash. That is VERY tempting. Who doesn’t want more cash? But as tempting as that is, doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you.
The first thing to do is explore the idea of running the sale. We start by asking the question what is the intention of running a Black Friday sale or promotion. Are you trying to get income to help offset the costs of a launch in January? Or is it tied to a bigger marketing strategy? It can be both or neither of those. How do you want this sale to impact the big picture in your business? Maybe running the sale will help move people one step closer to you or get fence sitters off the fence or to provide a new or next level experience for your existing customers.
What’s important is that you know the reason for running the sale and that you love your reason. Your reason should light you up and excite you. FOMO, or fear of missing out, is not a compelling reason. Neither is the ideology that you “should do it” because your mentor told you to do it. What is YOUR reason and do you love it?
Next it’s time to look at your calendar and your available time to see if you have the time to set-up, run, and close down a Black Friday sale. It’s important that you’re honest with yourself here. How much free time and energy can you invest in it? How much will you have leading up to it, The day of and Afterwards? Be careful about jumping into Hustle & Grind mode when you’re chasing dollar bills. I know that cash is tempting but so is building a business that works for you, your family, and your life.
If you don’t have the time, that’s totally ok. Take all of your ideas and write them down. Set a reminder on your calendar for October 1st 2021 to come back and visit your notes and get an early start on running a Black Friday promotion.
If it looks like you do have the time, let’s take a closer look at some options to consider before you make a final decision.
At this point you know what the intention is, and you know that you have some time to put towards creating a Black Friday sale, the next thing to consider is what the offer will look like. It can be really simple such as offering a discount to your email list subscribers. Again, some experts will tell you to never discount your offers but I invite you again to ask yourself if that is the right choice for you and your business right now?
AnOther option is to bundle together existing offers and create a discounted bundle price. Such as buy these two products at full price and I’ll give you this third product for free.
You can also offer a special upgrade offer. For example, if you have a membership you could run a Black Friday special where your customers can upgrade to a yearly membership and get some extra bonuses or a discount off the full year’s price.
Or you could take one of your signature products and create a slimmed down version. This is really helpful to give customers a chance to get to know you and your products better before investing in a large package or higher priced offer.
These are just a few of the many ways you can take advantage of running a Black Friday sale. It’s intended to spark your own creativity to explore what is the right choice for your business.
Personally, I have taken advantage of several Black Friday specials offered by entrepreneurs that I follow. For me, It was an entry point or gateway to help me decide if I wanted to make a bigger investment with them. Some worked out, some didn’t but I’ve never regretted the choices I’ve made. These days I’m looking forward to seeing what Black Friday offers I can jump on from my favorite online entrepreneurs.
As I wrap up this episode, I want to quickly share some things to consider before you decide to run your own Black Friday promotion.
First, keep in mind that you don’t have to wait until Black Friday to run the promotion. There’s a LOT of online businesses fighting for the consumer’s attention in the days after Thanksgiving. I know Cyber Monday is gaining momentum, but as the cliche goes, the early bird catches the worm. Consider putting your offer in front of your audience before people get swept up in Thanksgiving.
Second, make sure your offer is compelling. Again, there’s a lot of noise around Thanksgiving and Black Friday. You want your offer to be so delicious that people will jump on it right away.
Finally, make sure you have a system to onboard your customers after they hit the BUY NOW button but also remember that glitches do happen and you will want to have yourself or your team on standby to handle customer service if something goes wrong.
To sum this all up, Black Friday is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to bring in sales, reach new customers, or serve old customers at a deeper level. Although it is a wonderful opportunity, that doesn’t mean you have to take it. Trust in your ability to know what’s best and right for you and your business. Make your decision. Then choose to have peace about that decision, whatever it may be.
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