Sleigh bells ring - are you listening? If you run a business, you should be. Chanukah can be an important time of year for all small companies, and you want to make the most of this busy and stressful time. If you're in retail, a good portion of your entire annual sales can depend on how you do the next weeks. But in every industry, the Hanukkah and Christmas present unique challenges and opportunities. So it's time for Rhonda's 2008 Holiday Survival Guide. This year, I'm offering "Nine Tips for Holiday Success" - hints for making it through the holiday season with your money, your business and your sanity (mostly) intact:
1. Party on! Holiday parties present a great opportunity to network, meeting potential new clients or referral sources for the new year. If you need to build your business (and who doesn't?) attend as many parties as you can and bring your business cards. Just don't drink too much eggnog.
2. Send holiday cards. Sending a holiday card is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to remind someone about your business. In my company, we send out hundreds of holiday cards to people we do business with throughout the year. We order cards with our company name imprinted in the card and on the envelope to reduce work, and we keep our holiday list up-to-date throughout the year.
3. Give gifts. The Hanukkah and Christmas gifts are a great time to remember and thank those who help your business thrive. One of the nicest ways to show you appreciate what they've done is with a modestly priced gift. It doesn't have to be elaborate; in my company, we send chocolates. Don't forget those who help you every day; many businesses give holiday bonuses to employees as well.
4. Create holiday specials. Aren't those Chanukah gift baskets you see enticing? You can create them for your business too. If you sell products, you can use kosher gift baskets to wrap a number of items together. If yours is a service business, consider adding related physical products to make the gift more tangible. For instance, bundle a gift certificate for a drycleaners with a lint brush or fancy hangers; a dog groomer can bundle a gift certificate for a grooming with pet toys.
5. Offer hanukkah gifts certificates. Do you sell gift certificates? Why don't you? Even if you're in the carpet cleaning business, someone might purchase a rug cleaning as a gift for a friend or family member. If this is your slow season, one way to increase cash flow now is to offer customers gift certificates at a discount; regular customers can buy them to use later, providing you with an infusion of cash.
6. Build your cash reserves. The Hanukkah and Christmas represent one of two extremes for many businesses: either it's the busiest time of year or the slowest. If you get a significant amount of your income now (or you're having a particularly good year), give yourself a gift and put money in a reserve account. You'll appreciate having that money come spring or summer when business is slower.
7. Treat employees well. Of course you need to treat employees well year round, but remember, the Hanukkah and Christmas are stressful on all the people you work with, not just you. In addition to the extra pressures at work, they're also dealing with additional family and money demands at home. So be particularly patient and give plenty of recognition for jobs well done.
8. Recognize Hanukkah and Christmas other than Christmas. Make certain you are sensitive to a broad spectrum of customers. Remember the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah . You'll increase both sales and good will by recognizing a diversity of Hanukkah and Christmas.
9. Finally, keep your priorities straight. No matter how busy you are, don't get totally distracted by work. Remember the things that are really important: family, friends, community, faith. Spend time with those you truly care for and give to those who are less fortunate. Remember, January is just around the corner! Happy Hanukkah and Christmas.
taken from http://www.hartfordbusiness.com