There’s no fighting it at this point. The Halloween 70% off items are long gone and the shelves are overflowing with holiday candy, gifts, and decorations. The tree lots are being stocked and the stores are fully adorned in red and green, with Santa Claus cutouts to greet you at the door.
Even if you’re Nordstrom, which has a long-standing policy of not decorating for Christmas until after Black Friday, you can’t deny that the world is awash in Christmas spirit.
What this means for most solo or small businesses is that it’s time to wind down the year, take a break, and start planning for how you’re going to come on bigger and better next year.
But slowing down for 6-8 weeks during the holiday season is a mistake for a couple of reasons.
First, for most of us, this is the time of year we’re spending more money than usual. So it hardly makes sense to bring in less money when you’re out spending more.
Second, chances are you have little to no competition from now until the end of the year, so why not take advantage of that and be one of the few businesses that is reaching out to people?
Of course there’s a reason people take time off right now, especially parents. We want to spend more time with friends and family. More time shopping and baking and addressing cards. More time listening to Christmas music, relaxing, and contemplating New Year Resolutions.
The nice thing is, with just a little extra effort on your part, you can make December your best business month of the whole year. It won’t require 40 hour work weeks and pulling all nighters to fit everything in.
Just a few well-planned strategies will allow you to take the time off you want, as well as grow your business. Here are five simple strategies you can start implementing before you put the Thanksgiving turkey in the oven.
1. Send a Personal Greeting
Don’t bother with the stock Christmas cards that come with some generic, impossible-to-offend greeting and your signature conveniently pre-printed on them.
They may go on the mantel with the other cards, but they’ll be quickly discarded on January 1, without having made any real impact.
Take the time now to send a more personal greeting. Depending on your client and prospect base, it may not be realistic to send a handwritten message to everyone, but concentrate at least on your most valuable clients.
This is a great time to thank and re-engage former customers, and to get to the top of mind with your hottest potential clients.
Choose a card that looks unique, if possible. Most businesses will send a green card with “Seasons Greetings” written in gold on the outside, and “Wishing you joy throughout the holidays” on the inside. These are boring and scream, “I’m trying to be spiritually-correct and non-offensive to all.”
You have to decide here. If you love Santa and celebrate Christmas, does it matter to you if you send a card that represents this and two or three people blacklist you because they’re offended?
But if you’ll go with something that represents your personality, doesn’t look like it’s one of 5000 identical cards that was sent to all your customers, and contains a non-generic handwritten line or two, you’ll find the recipients especially responsive to your other holiday marketing efforts we’re about to go through.
2. Offer a Discount on Advance Purchases
You don’t want to spend your holidays working, and your customers may not need or have time for your services over the holidays.
Come up with a solution that works well for both of you.
Offer a discount if they buy now, receive a voucher for future services, and can redeem that voucher any time throughout the coming year.
Yes, they can wait until they’re ready for you in 2019. But if they do, they’ll pay 20% more. You get the money coming in now, they get the discount on something they’ll need later. (Just remember to budget and plan for the fact that you’ll be providing the service later without the money coming in!)
3. Put Together a Personal Holiday Video
No matter what your religious beliefs are, the holidays are the perfect time to get personal. People crave a feel-good, human story around this time.
And there’s no better way to connect personally than through video.
It doesn’t have to be professionally done, and thinking that it does is what will keep 99% of your competition from doing it.
In fact, it’s better if it’s not perfect, that’s what makes it personal.
Consider a behind the scenes video of how you manage your business (which can be quite funny for moms!), a story about your family’s holiday traditions, or even a sneak peek at how you plan to serve your customers in bigger and better ways in 2019.
No, you don’t have to be in it, but if you’ll get over yourself for just a minute and at least make a little personal appearance, your audience is bound to love it as much as you hate it.
Post the video on social media and send it to your email list. Send it personally to those you really want to reach.
4. Plan Your Social Media
Rather than just disappearing, or posting some random obligatory pictures of the school play, your fresh-cut tree, and your best attempts holiday baking, keep your business hat on by creating content now to either post manually or, better yet, load into Buffer (or the service of your choice) for automatic posting while you shop, bake, and wrap.
Yes, it will take some extra time now, but it will be so worth it.
Remember, people are likely spending a little extra time on social media sharing pictures and stories. If they see you out there joining in the fun, they’ll remember you, and their know/like/trust for you will grow.
Make sure you set aside a few minutes to respond to comments, and engage, but that’s the easy stuff compared to content creation.
Also, pay special attention to Pinterest. Everyone goes there for some type of holiday inspiration.
5. Open Some Time on Your Calendar
Yes, we’ve already decided you don’t really want to work over the holidays, but could you do just 5-6 hours a week those last two weeks in December?
Sure you could if it meant going into the New Year with no Christmas debt!
Open up your calendar for new client calls or consults or whatever is relevant to getting you business. Maybe it’s just a check-in session, or a jumpstart to 2019 where you brainstorm the New Year and how you can help your prospect be more successful.
The point is, you’re going to be the only one talking to your client or potential client during this time. And a lot of people have some extra time off around the holidays, a lot are planning for 2019 right now. It’s the perfect time to establish you as the one who’s going to help with whatever product or service you provide.
If nothing else, it’s going to make you memorable, which is half the battle in business.
Planning is the Key to Profitable, Stress-Free Holidays
You wouldn’t sit down on Wednesday night and start meal planning and making your grocery list if you were serving Thanksgiving dinner for 20 the next day.
Don’t take a “fly by the seat of your pants” approach to your marketing either and December can be your best month ever, and can set you up for an easy flood of business after the New Year.
It’s easier to connect over the holidays because most people aren’t, and when you’re getting personal, a little bit goes a long way. You don’t need a complicated marketing funnel to make a significant impression.
Take an hour to think about your unique business and your unique story. These five ideas will get you started, but what personal, yet simple, ways can you come up with to keep your business strong over the holidays without sacrificing your holiday cheer?
As you hopefully know by now, if you want mentoring for your entrepreneurial journey, Kids Party Characters owner Cheryl Jacobs may be able to help.
Cheryl started out as a single mom needing to feed two small kids, and has now had a hand in starting 10 different businesses.
To help cut out the learning curve and meet the time constraints most moms have, Cheryl has created a unique opportunity that allows you to have your own Kids Party Characters business, complete with all the resources Cheryl used to grow her business to six figures.
In addition to an exclusive territory in which to book parties and the right to use our 200-plus costumes, you’ll also get step-by-step training from Cheryl on how to set your business up for quick profits.
Book a free, no-pressure chat with Cheryl right here and she’ll answer all your questions and get you on the right path.
Learn more about the joy we bring to children’s parties by connecting with Kids Party Characters on Facebook for daily updates, including our best tips for building a successful business while raising happy and healthy kids.