Around January to February, communities from around the world gather around to ring in the traditional Lunar calendar's new year.
The Lunar New Year is one of the biggest celebrations in many countries, lasting for as long as sixteen days, beginning on the new moon on the first day of the first lunar month and ending on the full moon with a Lantern Festival.
The festivities result in a long holiday. Small businesses across the globe with workers and suppliers from China, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and other countries with significant Chinese communities should prepare for the upcoming holidays.
The Lunar New Year celebrations start on 21 January 2023 for New Year's Eve, followed by the Lunar New Year on 22 January 2023, and finishes on 5 February 2023 for the Lantern Festival.
The public holidays give employees seven days off starting 21 January to 27 January. There are also factory shutdowns for more than two weeks. That long halt in production and services can cause a significant disruption in your flow of productivity and a massive downtime in sales.
Some of the most common problems encountered by small businesses during the Lunar New Year include:
Since all employees are given a lengthy holiday off work, you won't get any supplies for the duration of the celebrations. You're also unlikely able to contact your suppliers until after the holidays. Being unprepared for this occasion can pose severe constraints to your business.
Workers start leaving in the middle of the month, reducing workforce and skill. These workers don't come back simultaneously; some might not even return. To fill this gap, factories must rehire and retrain the lost labor to compensate for time. This could lead to reduced quality in production.
The holiday business shutdowns happen every year, and many consumers and businesses have been anticipating it. This results in an increase in orders and a bulk of shipments that need to be delivered before the holiday begins.
Overwhelming demand and partial workforce might affect productivity at Chinese factories, ultimately leading to delays and non-fulfilment of orders. This overload and reduced employees can cause a long delay in your stock's shipment.
To avoid last-minute delays and conflicts in your business operations, make adequate preparations beforehand. Here are eight simple steps to get ready for the Year of the Rabbit rush:
It helps to know more about the holiday’s schedule of activities to prepare your business ahead.
Take note of the following schedule for Lunar New Year 2023:
Creating a solid relationship with your supplier before the Lunar New Year would be challenging. But this is important to apply in the following years.
With the tight schedule and immense pressure on companies and factories, they may prioritise regular and long-time clients over your order. Find trustworthy manufacturers and suppliers. Ensure they have the proper procedures and previous experience for the Lunar New Year shutdown.
If your business is partly or wholly dependent on products or services imported from countries celebrating the Lunar New Year, your work is cut out for you.
Have a concrete list of your requirements for the next month before the holiday shutdowns, and create a rundown of your business's logistical data from January to March. Take an average of the data from the previous few years to help you assess how the season affects your business.
Losing stock on your bestsellers can hurt your profit, especially with all the upcoming holidays, such as Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras, which are huge opportunities to make a higher sale.
To avoid this, make sure you begin stocking up before January. Prioritise your most popular products and vital seasonal products for the upcoming months. Your competitors will start putting out huge orders by that time, and the decrease in workers over the celebrations can cause slower service and movement, delaying shipping.
To maintain a safety margin, the general rule of thumb is to start placing orders by the beginning of December. It takes around a month for final goods to roll over from the factory, so placing orders in the last week of November or the first week of December will provide you room for last-minute adjustments.
Some factories close down for good before the New Year shutdown, and if you've paid in advance for post-holiday deliveries, you will suffer significant losses on your investment.
Wait until after the holidays, when businesses return to normal. Stocking up is crucial before the holidays, but ensure you avoid transactions during the festivities.
Putting all eggs in the same basket has never worked for anyone. The Lunar New Year shutdown is an opportunity to diversify your supplier list.
Heavy dependence on one source can be troublesome during emergencies. Consider stocking your inventory from various sources as a safety net during peak occasions and holidays.
Many employees may return to factories late, so suppliers and manufacturers are always left looking for hands to work with at this time. Sometimes, they don't even come back.
Be meticulous with quality checks on your business's end to avoid problems later. With low-grade products, you could lose your clientele and the reputation your business has built.
Don't have a website yet? Now is the perfect time to create one. A business website helps streamline the ordering process for your customers' convenience. It would be easier for them to look up the availability of your products, saving you the trouble of declining their orders due to being out of stock.
Once you register your business's domain name, the next step is to get a good web hosting plan. There are many web server hosting plans out there, but the best one is the one that’s suited to your business’s needs.
If your business is still small and you’ve only got a handful of products, a business website hosting is the most suitable plan for your website. But if your business has a variety of products to keep track of, we recommend virtual private server (VPS) to best fit your needs.
Example, if you’re a fast-growing SME in Singapore with more than hundreds of products under your business, it’s ideal to look for the best VPS Singapore. It pays to choose the web hosting provider that can keep your website afloat amidst high traffic surges, especially during disruptions.
Your business shouldn't suffer from this seasonal hiccup. With proper planning, you can avoid making grievous mistakes that can hurt your business and turn potential misfortunes into promising opportunities.
Prepare ahead of time, put the proper measures in place, and have an auspicious business this year of the rabbit.
Gong Xi Fa Cai!