For SMEs Christmas can be a challenging but rewarding time of year. In this article we explore why Christmas could perform absolute wonders for your SME business.
Customers like Small Retail Businesses
When thinking about the benefit of Christmas to SMEs the most obvious area of benefit is retail sales. Customers are awash with money to spend in retail shops, pubs and restaurants at this time of year, particular reasons they love small retail businesses are:
- Many customers like to shop locally at small independent businesses
- Many customers like original/unique gifts so look for small local businesses or boutique websites rather than giants (e.g. not a “bog standard” M&S toiletries set!)
- Many consumers like the personalised service local smaller businesses bring, in many cases the customer will have known the proprietor(s) for many years
Benefits to Non-Retail Businesses
The benefits of the Christmas party aren’t all for retail businesses though. Here are a number of other ways in which the business season can be beneficial to non-retail SMEs:
- There is the chance for staff to have some annual leave, relax with family and recharge their batteries
- There will be many networking functions around the Christmas season, this is a chance to create new business opportunities at a time of year where people are more cheerful and generally more receptive
- Sending Christmas cards to clients may sound like a chore but this can be a great networking and sales opportunity. It’s a chance for re-engagement and many deals have been clinched which originated from a customer remembering a company from a Christmas card
Sending business cards can be a real opener to new business opportunities
- Christmas is often a time where housekeeping jobs can be caught upon, particularly for businesses with plant closures. It’s an ideal time for stocktaking, decorating and premises maintenance, etc.
- Let’s just blast the myth that Christmas is only beneficial to retailers (which some might think). The fact is that retailers sell what has previously been manufactured, so for a manufacturing business there sales are likely to have come months earlier, so in other words “Christmas came early!”. Retailers have to buy the stock from somewhere!
Making the most of the Christmas party
Surveys suggest that over 50% of employees dread the annual Christmas party.
The office Christmas party has lots of potential benefits to all SMEs
There is no reason this should be the case though and a Christmas party if handled correctly could be a real “shot in the arm” for an SME, here are some of the reasons why:
- The MD should (briefly) share success stories of the past year with staff and thank everybody for their hard work over the past year
- It’s a chance for staff at all levels to network and get attention, share ideas, thoughts and inspirations for the year ahead
- It’s a great opportunity to let staff know they are appreciated and valued. Although many people think money is motivating it’s effect is temporary, feeling valued has long-term benefits throughout the year for a business
So hopefully you’ll agree that Christmas can be a time of wonder for the SME, especially when some of the above ideas are included as part of the celebrations!