A Holiday “To Do List” for Small Business Owners
How To Show Your Client Appreciation
We’ll all feel better if we just get it out there, so I’m going to go ahead and say it – Today is December 1st (Dramatic pause). You might be trying to ignore it – but if you turn on the radio, visit a store, look out the window, or basically do anything human – you can’t anymore. The Holiday season is coming, and will be here before you know it. Some might even say it is already here. Personally, I LOVE Christmas, but it sure can STRESS ME OUT! On top of everything else that I have to do as a small business owner in December to close out the year (accounting/tax prep, employee reviews, planning for next year, etc…), Christmas throws a whole other heap of things onto my To-Do List. And as a small business owner, I am one of the lucky few that gets to do all of these holiday tasks TWICE! Once at home and another time at work. Don’t get me wrong I know I don’t have to do these things, I take them on willingly. It’s one of my many sicknesses.
Whatever you are celebrating this holiday season, I know you have a A LOT to do at home in these next 4 weeks, in addition to running your business. But I’m going to ignore that part and instead focus on some things you can do in your business to make the most of this time of year. Trust me, you don’t want my advice on managing your home priorities anyways. There are lots of fun and meaningful things you can do for the holidays at your small business – at PPM, my As-Built Surveying company, we like to focus on these “CHRISTMAS BIG 3”:
1. The Christmas Card
Why should I do this?
The Christmas Card (or Holiday Card) is a wonderful way to connect with everyone that means something to your business, to thank them for supporting you, and to wish them well in the year to come. Plus it’s a great way to update your addresses when 10% of them come back undeliverable. We send them to clients, vendors, partners, even competitors! If you have received a Christmas Card from us, you know that we take them VERY SERIOUSLY at PPM. Over the years our themes have ranged from the Peanuts Gang, to Photos with Santa, to Home Alone, to Where’s Waldo (coming soon…) But I don’t know if we’ll ever top my personal favorite…
2012 PPM Christmas Card. “Turtlenecks on the Beach”. Yes we did.
- Take the photo. (For extra credit, have a themed design made up with it)
- Make a recipient list. Determine quantity needed.
- Have cards printed.
- Sign/write note, stuff, print labels, stamp, mail
2. Client Appreciation Gifts
Why should I do this?
Your clients give you so much – You literally wouldn’t be in business without them. Take the opportunity to send them a little extra holiday cheer for all they have done for you.
- Establish your Budget. (I set aside a % of revenues each month)
- Make a recipient list. (I don’t do all clients – I narrow it down based on business history. Based on quantity, you can set a budget per person)
- Choose gifts (we like gift baskets filled with a variety of treats. And wine)
- Deliver to clients (Double extra credit if you can drop off personally)
Client Gift Basket idea. Wouldn’t you love to get one of these? We use a vendor to prepare and ship.
3. Christmas Party
Why should I do this?
Seriously? Please don’t ever ask me that question again. OK just in case you aren’t immediately convinced… As small business owners, we have a tendency to constantly be looking forward. It’s important to remember to take a break and celebrate all that you have achieved. Plus, some of the best company stories will come from this event: “Remember that time Mike fell in the koi pond?”
- Establish a Budget. (I set aside a % of revenues each month)
- Choose a Date. (more important to set this EARLY the more people you have)
- Choose a Venue. (we have done restaurants, my home, the office, a boat)
- Create Invite List. (just employees? Include spouses/significant others? Vendors/Partners?)
- Event Details (this totally varies based on what you are doing. If it’s at your house you’ll have a lot to prepare, if at a restaurant then not so much. One thing I like to do no matter where is to prepare gifts and hand them out publicly at the event to each employee, along with some kind words on how much I value them and their contribution to PPM)
2014 PPM Christmas Party. Not pictured – somebody saying something really funny
Same party. Cameron couldn’t make it so we brought a cardboard version instead. We liked this one better.
Hope this article helps you with some ideas for your own Holiday planning for your small business. You still have time! But if not… don’t worry Holiday season 2017 is just around the corner….