The holidays are a busy time for everyone, but for small businesses, they can be a particularly hectic. Employees are juggling family commitments, vacation days and financial responsibilities as well as their normal work duties, yet it is also the busiest time of year for many smaller businesses. Harness your creative thinking skills and use workplace innovation to take advantage of sales opportunities or other ways to build your business in the New Year.
An article in the Wall Street Journal recommends that small businesses adjust their normal routines creatively to meet special interests during the holiday season, whether that is selling seasonal gift packages to retail customers or tailoring client gifts to promote your own services.
Ideas for Creative Sales and Outreach Over the Holidays
Here are a few takeaways for how your business can capitalize on sales and business development opportunities as 2012 ends and 2013 begins.
1. Be a local force.
If you are a locally owned business, go the extra mile to take care of the customers in your own backyard. Consumers are starting to use their dollars more consciously to support local businesses, and they often will opt for the personalized customer service smaller companies have to offer. According to the Wall Street Journal article:
A survey of 1,200 consumers conducted last year by the North American Retail Hardware Association, a nonprofit trade group, found that 35% shop locally because they feel it’s important to support the local economy. Thirty-nine percent said they would be more likely to shop at a store that advertises itself as being locally owned.
2. Make it easy.
Consumers are looking for convenience around the holidays; use workplace innovation to make their lives easier. For example, if you are a retail business, offer specially packaged and priced gift baskets, or if you offer business-to-business services, put together an attractive offer for the start of the new year.
3. Make yourself indispensable.
Instead of sending expensive or elaborate gifts to your clients and business contacts, use a more affordable and creative sales and outreach strategy: send them something useful for their business, such as a technological or organizational tool. For example:
For their first holiday season in business three years ago, entrepreneurs David Pessis and Bill Burnett spent about $500 on Godiva chocolates to give to their corporate clients. Though many expressed appreciation, the effort didn’t result in increased business, says Mr. Pessis, co-founder of Fippex, a provider of communications software in Chicago.
The following year, the duo took a different approach to gift giving, sending clients virtual greeting cards made with their own technology. The move prompted several recipients to ask the company to help them create similar cards to send to their clients, some of whom then ended up becoming Fippex clients as well.
How will you use workplace innovation to take full advantage of holiday opportunites this year?Photo credit