For many small businesses – notably, but not exclusively, those in retail and hospitality – the holiday season is an important time not only because of the impact that it has on short-term sales but also because how a business is managed during the holidays can have a lasting reflection in public perception throughout the year. So this is a time of year to shine not only in marketing but also in taking care of important relationships, e.g, by paying attention to employees, customers and community kinship.
Suggestions and Reminders for the Holiday Season
• Do use your website and social media to promote your holiday specials, but don’t make everything about selling. Use them to tell your story, foster connections, and show appreciation.
• Keep up excellent customer service by handling requests efficiently and with good cheer. Use this as an opportunity to make customers feel like they are being taken care of.
• Have sneak-peaks, special hours, secret sales or a customer appreciation open-house for loyal customers.
• Send personal notes in your holiday cards and thank you notes.
• Connect with your community by attending local events and giving to charities.
• Plan ahead for the possibility of bad weather, thinking about how it might affect staff, customers, vendors, or shippers and what you might do to handle potential difficulties.
• Prepare in advance for staffing issues, whether it is the need for extra help or for employees to have holiday time off.
• Find ways to show employees appreciation for their extra efforts.
• Enjoy time with family and friends and also allow yourself some quiet time.
Best wishes to you during the coming month of holiday activity!
Laurie Pieper, Ph.D.
Washburn University KSBDC
America’s SBDC Kansas