Keep the Holiday Spirit Alive

Running a small business during the holidays is a bit like running a marathon – you start out fresh and before you know it, fatigue starts to kick in, and all that seasonal cheer begins to wane.

Fortunately, there are ways to recharge along the route. Like the proverbial water stop, the tips offered here can keep you, your employees and customers energized, making spirits bright from start to finish.

Tip One: Deck the Halls

A decorating party after hours is a great way to get employees in a holiday mood before the season kicks into high gear.

Tip Two: Let it Snow

Declare a “white out,” sale. Have employees dress in white and offer discounts to customers who wear a white winter garment, such as a stocking cap, mittens, or scarf.

Tip Three: Throw A Curve

If it doesn’t snow in your area (or even if it does), have a “Caribbean Christmas,” sale or explore different themes celebrating Hanukah, Kwanzaa or even Festivus.

Tip Four: Sit Them Down

Your employees will be working long, stressful hours during the holidays. Help them cope and recover by bringing in a seated chair massage specialist periodically.

Tip Five: Keep it Secret

Some love it, some hate it, but the Secret Santa tradition, in which employees anonymously gift each other, is a holiday mainstay.

Tip Six: Make Spirits Bright

Giving to those less fortunate often is top of mind during the holidays. Choose a charity your business and employees can support by donating funds, your products or services or volunteering time. To keep the warm feeling going, continue this practice all year long.

Tip Seven: Create Wish Lists

Send existing customers on your e-mail list a holiday survey that helps them identify what they want from you. When their “wish list” is returned, compile the products ahead of time to make their shopping easier.

Tip Eight: Divide and Conquer

Split your employees into groups that leverage their strengths. Put the strongest sales people on the floor, the best stockers in the back and the fastest cashiers behind the register.

Tip Nine: Set the Tone

As business owner and leader, your behavior during the holidays impacts employees and customers considerably. Even in the most trying times, be positive and cheerful.

Tip Ten: Slip Them a Little Extra

Few things motivate employees more than money. If you have the means and your employees deserve it, consider giving them a holiday bonus. If you prefer not to, throw a post-holiday party and pull out all the stops.

Tip Eleven: Think Forward

When the holidays are over, keep the spirit alive with clearance and pre-inventory sales events. Or tap into the annual resolution movement by offering special New Year’s deals or incentives.

Twelve: Don’t Forget the Most Important Person on Your List

After weeks and weeks of holiday commerce, you may need some rest and relaxation. Take some time to recharge your own batteries. You’re worth it, and your business will be better for it.

In the race to make the most of the holidays, your business will likely come across some barriers. By following these tips, you’ll improve your chances of overcoming them.

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