SMBs are facing a tough holiday season. Here’s how you can still win big.

October 18, 2023

Ready to conquer spooky, scary process documentation? Join us at next week’s Inside the Process for everything you need to know on how to document a process and create engaging content! Plus, get your questions answered in real time — it’s happening Wednesday, October 25 at 9 a.m. PDT (12 p.m. EDT). Register here.

Hot off the SMB press this week: 

  • A process template outlining the perfect structure for an effective meeting.
  • How to turn around the forecasted slump in holiday season sales.
  • Organize and document your business more easily with these new Trainual features.
  • Empower your team with decision frameworks that will help your business grow.


Template(s) of the week: How To Run an Effective Meeting Process Template

EOS Level 10 Meeting template

Meetings have a bit of a bad rap — from the memes to the recent introduction of Zoom fatigue, the general opinion about meetings has taken a nose-dive in recent years. So, planning and running efficient meetings is now more important than ever. Especially because no one wants to hear that their meeting “could have been an email.”

So, the questions become: How do you run an efficient meeting? And how can you guarantee that every meeting is useful for your team and leads to results?

👉 The answer: Document the most efficient meeting framework with this How To Run an L10 Meeting Process template. Based on the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS) Level 10 MeetingTM structure, this process teaches your team how to execute a 90-minute meeting where you review your priorities, focus on issues, and deliver solutions. (Unfamiliar with EOS? Check out this video.)

Interested in more EOS templates for your Trainual account? Here’s the full list:

Introduction to EOS for Employees.

How To Build an Accountability Chart.

How To Create a Scorecard

How To Use a Vision/Traction Organizer™ (V/TO).

How To Be a Great Boss.

How To Set Rocks.

*New to Trainual? Start a free trial and add all seven EOS templates straight into your account! 

Want more templates to help you build your business playbook? Check out our entire template archive of free, multimedia-enhanced, and customizable policy, process, and role starters.


How to win big this holiday season (despite inflationary pressures)

Q: Which of the seven dwarfs are shoppers expected to be this holiday season?
(Hint: It’s not Sneezy.)

Grumpy the dwarf

A: Grumpy. 

Welp, that’s not what we want to hear. But it does make sense. After all, price hikes are everywhere. Nearly 90% of small business owners say inflation is impacting business — which has forced many to raise prices. (Cue the grumpy customer.)

What’s worse: Customer spending has shifted to only buying essentials. In fact, while holiday retail sales went up 7.6% last year, they’re expected to increase only between 3.5 and 4.6% this year. 

But, here’s the silver lining:
There are steps you can take to prepare for the holiday season and de-risk your operations in the face of Q4 adversity.

First, you’ll want to practice measures that’ll boost your customer loyalty. Though customers aren’t buying more, they’ll remain loyal to the companies that give them optimal services, products, and experiences. So you want to make sure your team has outstanding patience with customer grumpiness. 

Next, be sure you’re conservative with your inventory measures so you don’t end up with excess expenses. Your best bet is to forecast off of current year-to-date 2023 trends and invest in basic merchandise with sell-by dates that extend well beyond the holiday season.

And remember that while Q4 sales might not be record-breaking, it could still be strong if you start ordering and allocating budgets now. As banks reel in their willingness to extend capital (especially to small businesses), it might be time to talk to them and other lending institutions about the financing you’ll need to make delivery of your inventory by EOY. That way, you can be sure those deliveries don’t get held up by a finance hitch. 

👉 See more steps.


[New in Trainual!] The Content tab consolidating (you guessed it) your content + a revamped editing experience

Trainual new content experience

We're always looking for ways to improve Trainual for our customers. And we just delivered in a big way with two major updates.

To the left, to the left (of your Trainual account)… is the new Content tab, your one-stop shop for content management. The place you can go to create and edit policies, processes, and company knowledge. 

And, um... did somebody say that’s where you can set the order of employee training!? Yeah, they did. Cheers to making sure your new hires get set up with the exact info they need in the exact order they need it. 

Plus, the text editor — AKA, that little box where you input all of your content (like text, GIFs, and bullets) — just got a major upgrade. 

👉 Jump in Trainual and check it out! (Don’t have a Trainual account? Get a demo.)

Want help getting started with the new Content page and editor? Check out these resources:

On-demand webinar: How To Organize and Edit with the New Content Experience.

Help docs:


Creating decision frameworks that empower your team — and help you scale

Something’s causing bottlenecks at your business…
Decision-making. Or more specifically, a lack of decision-making.

For most small business, the power to make decisions rests solely with the business owner. Sometimes, other business leaders also get the opportunity to make consequential decisions — but, if you only have three or four leaders making day-to-day decisions for a company with 25+ employees, you’re probably going to notice a few standstills within your operations.

That means if you’re looking to streamline your ops and potentially scale, you’re going to have to spread the responsibility of making decisions across your team.

Empowerment starts with trust.
If you’re committed to growing your business, you have to trust your team has the capability to make good decisions on the business’ behalf. You hired them for a reason: Because you believe they’re the best people to carry out their unique responsibilities. 

But that doesn’t mean you can throw them into making decisions all on their own. And that’s where decision frameworks come into play. 

Build a system that allows employees to take their role and run with it.
Start by documenting a decision approval process — outlining the principles that guide employee decision making. That way, there’s no confusion as to what autonomy employees have and how they should think about their decisions. 

In it, you should set the types of decisions that employees can make (ones that keep your team agile when solving problems and coming up with their own solutions). You should also point out the types of decisions that should be elevated to leadership — this sets boundaries and reduces the risk that can come with big decisions. 

👉 Learn more about building the right decision framework

Organize the chaos
of your small business