This article re-posted with permission of Chuck Blakeman.
Getting Ahead When the Rest are Resting.
Assumption – December is a black hole for growing businesses. We might as well relax & make peace with it. Not really.
Reality: People are busy at night and weekends but their workday has slowed way down. They are waiting for you to call! It is head trash and/or anecdotal business lore to think that we can’t get great results in December. Last year I had three appointments a day between Christmas and New Year’s (this year I’m taking it off!).
Speed of Execution is the #1 indicator of success in small business. While the other rabbits are taking a December snooze, keep the tortoise moving – make money in December and set up your January to revenue-generating, not planning.
Here’s ways to build your business in December:
1. Do a seminar on managing credit – one of our clients did it last year on Dec. 22 in the afternoon and had 100 people come – three days before Christmas!
2. The forgiveness factor – Holiday hellos to stale contacts – great excuse to reconnect.
3. Forgiveness factor newsletter – Teach your power partners/gate openers to reconnect using Holiday Hellos. Box of chocolates with their Name/logo to give to someone they need to reconnect with. Over-sized chocolate bar; funky desk calendar; holiday wrapping paper. Opens the door for them to call me, get coffee, re-establish the business relationship.
4. Client appreciation events DURING THE DAY – Holiday goodies, gift-wrapping – ongoing if you have a retail location. A little live music is always a great addition. You can send out an e-mail invitation with all the details.
5. Host a planning event Host a planning seminar for next year (get a futurist,CPA, etc.)
6. Take on a charity as a company and get everyone involved. Donate a day as a company. PR consultant-newspapers. Write article, frame it, hang it on your wall, email to your list.
7. Press Release – Holidays offer a great excuse. Newsworthy idea – great PR exposure. Called piggybacking (on the holiday theme) Here’s some ways:
a. Make donations in honor of your customers. 10% of profits for one week to the American Cancer Society. Or donate employee time.
b. Give something back Offer an award (for someone you admire, courageous kids, notable givers, create a scholarship) – dinner and a ceremony.
c. TurkeyPardon.com – Pardon a turkey, put a camera on it and YouTube, then give it to a petting zoo after the holidays. You can borrow TurkeyPardon.com from me at no charge (1st one to ask).
d. Holiday poll – Poll/survey and announce results. What business owners really want for the holidays, biggest complaint about holiday shopping? Or something from perspective of your business – get a PR person to shop it to the right audience. Email/send results.
8. Hand delivered gift cards from a local coffee shop or restaurant. Get an appointment to go with them!
9. Send a watch – “Happy New Year! It’s about TIME we did some business together.”
10. Send a New Year’s card – don’t get lost in the Christmas card shuffle – and everyone celebrates New Years.
11. Crystal office candy bowl Send refresher candy 3-4 times a year at other holidays. Their name engraved.
12.Offer gift certificates ($25 billion last year – 15% of Holiday revenue!) Carpet cleaning – a great gift certificate! Make the offer for your slow time of year.
13. Tie your product/service to the holidays – What do people need from me during the holidays? Do they need more balance, a time to relax, a plan for how they’re going to do something better in the coming year? Insert yourself!
14. Organize a shopping trip for elderly clients PLUS THEIR FRIEND (CPAs, Fin. Planners; anyone with elderly customers).
15. Bonus ☺ – February 18 – Chinese New Year celebration event Cultural experience– a slower time for activities. How many people would go with to an event where a Chinese person could teach us those traditions?
16. For Yourself – focus on your Loyal Customers and Raving Fans – do something for them. Do some simple strategic planning for next year. Find out what your Big Why is. Establish a Business Maturity Date. Develop a simple system to streamline your operations. SET APPOINTMENTS FOR JANUARY3rd RIGHT NOW (don’t’ wait until January – hit the ground running!). Or just relax and enjoy family.
By Chuck Blakeman, Author of the #1 Rated Business Book of the Year, Making Money is Killing Your Business
Photo credit to iStock