As we rapidly approach Christmas, we see the high street get busier, we see our online transactions go through the roof, and, if you are a business owner, you will think ‘how do I make myself part of this?’.
Christmas tends to be a booming time for retail industries and can be almost silent for everyone else. Whilst everyone seems to lose their head with shopping lists, wish lists, and turn into crazy animals fighting for the last turkey and the best Christmas tree, our days of work can be a little strange. Whether it’s your digital Christmas cards or client drinks, we all want to utilise this magical time of year, and as small businesses that means increasing revenue and finding new opportunities, rather than just revealing the secret Santa and encouraging afternoon drinks amongst your teams.
At Your Company Formations, we’ve created our top 5 tips for getting yourself onto Santa’s ‘Nice’ list and bringing some Goodwill to your business at this magical time of year.
Christmas tends to be a booming for retail industries and almost silent for service based businesses – it’s a strange time of year, and whether it is your Christmas cards or client drinks, we all want to utilise the magical time of year but exactly how do we go about it.
Tip 1: Make the time to be sincere.
Christmas tends to be a time full of love, gratitude and celebration of our families, friends and loved ones. It’s a time of reflection, and for many a time to say the things we don’t say, and make time for the things we don’t do often enough. As business owners, many of us extend this to our clients, our customers, our suppliers or our partners and it is important, if you are going to do this, to ensure you to take the time to do it in a sincere and genuine manner.
It may be that you add a personal note in your Christmas cards or that you send a hamper with a personal touch. Do you know your clients have a particular interest? Have they mentioned anything to you in the past? A small, sincere gesture will go much further than an expensive, impersonal one and will go a long way to helping improve your relationships and spread the festive magic for your organisation.
Tip 2 – Take the opportunity to be a little cheeky.
In the build up to Christmas most people have slightly lower defences and a slightly more relaxed attitude to work, and this is something you should take advantage of. If your diary is quiet, take your client for lunch, organise an activity with your suppliers or spend a little extra time getting to know your clients when they call. You can ask them about Christmas, you can share (some) details of your Christmas party and in doing so, you can get to know your clients better. The Season of Goodwill is also, in our opinion, the best time to ask for introductions, for recommendations and testimonials or discuss doing something big, brave and bold next year. Take a risk and be a little cheeky in the spirit of Christmas as you never know where it might take you in 2016.
Tip 3 – Reflect together.
As 2015 draws to a close, many of us use the time to reflect on what we have achieved, what we have learnt, what we have enjoyed and what we hope for in 2016. Within your business, make sure you do this as a team initially and if your industry suits, extend your findings to your clients and ask them to get involved. If you’ve made mistakes this year, if you know there are things you can improve on, talk about them, be vulnerable and make a commitment to doing better. Whatever your business, people buy people and at the heart of people is honesty and intention so share yours this Christmas and be brave enough to be just a little vulnerable as the New Year approaches – we think it will pay dividends.
Tip 4 – Make plans for the New Year.
Many of us make our own resolutions at this time of year and when it comes to business, we often set ourselves goals around organisation, growth and efficiency. It is important to include your clients or customers in this process and equally see how you can help them achieve their goals for 2016. Take the time to find out what matters to them, what is on their agenda, what are they hoping for, and importantly, how can you work together to make this happen.
Tip 5 – Don’t forget the Goodwill
All sensible ideas aside, there is nothing better than receiving a box of chocolates, a bottle of fizz or a lovely hamper from your boss, from your clients or from your suppliers so, whether it’s a bag of gold coins or a Fortnum and Mason hamper, be nice, give a gift to the people that make your business, and if 2015 has been a good year for you, think about how you can help others at this time of year. Would your team downgrade their Christmas lunch and send a food parcel to a local charity? Could you all bring in a few gifts to drop off for children in need? Could you add a £5 donation to a charity of choice to every wage packet this year? Despite what we think, it’s the giving that makes Christmas magical so make sure you let your business feel this year.
… And when Christmas Eve brings itself around, and as you worry that your ‘to do’ list might not be done, or panic about what might be said by the in-laws, remember that business is often a marathon rather than a sprint so take your own time out, remember what is important to you and relax, enjoy, celebrate and indulge so that you come back ready to make 2016 your best year yet.