The business of the holidays

30 11 2011

The holidays are officially here. And for many businesses, it’s one of the biggest marketing and sales opportunities of the year. But have you thought about utilizing this time for improving your business relationships? This Small Business Support Network article, “The Business of Christmas,” got me thinking about how the heightened degree of social gatherings and merriment during the season is a prime opportunity for bolstering your business and personal relationships, as well as making new ones.

Sure, as a business owner, ‘receiving’ a boost in business during the holidays is a great mood enhancer. It’s something many count on. But through the old adage of ‘giving,’ you can also view the season as a time to build upon lasting relationships with colleagues, partners, vendors and the like. This has less to do with giving presents as it does with giving your attention and time. And in the end, your generosity towards others will hopefully strengthen your base of business activity throughout the next year. As an example, reuniting with someone and strengthening your relationship can lead to a strategic alliance that previously didn’t exist. Here are some easy ways to foster relationships during the holidays:

  • Attend another company’s holiday party. Particularly if your business is compatible with the host company, this will grant an opportunity for you to interface with more people than your main point of contact. Plus, every host appreciates a crowd at their own party.
  • Host a holiday party. A holiday party is a great way to say ‘thanks’ to those who have worked hard to support your business’ success over the year.
  • Follow-up. Collect business cards and remember the people you meet at various holiday occasions. This is a great time to connect and reconnect.
  • Give referrals. Listen for how you can help others and give referrals that solve problems.
  • Appreciate your customers. A simple “thank you” goes a long way, and this is the time of year to let your customers know how much you cherish their business. Notes of gratitude, VIP sales opportunities, catered service, etc. go a long way.
  • Send holiday cards. This is yet another touch-point to keep you and your business top-of-mind.

Enjoy the holidays and enjoy rekindling friendships. Though the holidays will surely be busy in many respects, taking time to focus on others will undoubtedly be rewarding. And if you don’t make it to the party, try to connect with someone for five-minutes each day. Sometimes it’s reaching the mini-goals that help champion our greater efforts.

Photo courtesy of Tiny Prints.

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