If you’re not in retail, the assumption is that December is a black hole for growing a business – we might as well just relax and make peace with it, right? That couldn’t be more wrong.
Grow Fast During The Holidays
Almost every business-to-business owner claims the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s causes their business to fall off significantly. But it’s actually more often just a self-fulfilling prophecy. When I started Crankset Group in October 2006, I got all the appointments I needed, even between Christmas and New Year’s when B2B businesses can usually hear a pin drop. It was one of the best pushes I ever did to get a new business off the ground.
Expand Your Business, Not Your Pants
Would you like your business to expand over the holidays, instead of your pants? The holiday truth is that everyone is busy after work and on weekends, so it appears they’re more slammed than usual. There really is something going on almost every night, but during the day, very little business is being done. Why? Because everybody thinks everybody else is busy, so nobody is connecting. Except you.
Getting Their Undivided Attention
For four years straight I used the holidays to push my business forward significantly while other businesses were focused on opening and throwing away fruitcakes. I had very little problems getting appointments during the day. In fact, between Christmas and New Year’s I had three to four high-quality appointments every day, and in most cases, I was the only business activity those people had on their calendar the whole day. They were glad to get out of the house for a cup of coffee and I had their full, rested attention.
23 Great Ideas
So if you’re building aggressively right now, don’t slow down after Thanksgiving, speed up. You’ll be the only one vying for attention (remember, only ask for time during the day). Here are twenty-three great ideas to keep things moving or growing even faster during the holidays.
1. Sales—start now and fill up your calendar right through New Year’s. You won’t miss a beat while everyone else is in a tryptophan stupor.
2. Thanksgiving party—don’t get lost in the December party shuffle. We always host a well-attended party before Thanksgiving to express our thanks to key people in our business.
3. The Holiday Hello forgiveness factor—Have people in your database you’re embarrassed to say you haven’t connected with forever? The holiday hello is a great excuse to reconnect—“Just wanted to say happy…” and you’re off and running again.
4. Teach your key business partners to do the Holiday Hello with their stagnant connections. They’ll appreciate the idea.
5. Give a box of chocolate bars with THEIR Name/logo on it, for them to give out to their strategic partners. You can put your name/website on the back of the wrapper as the “chocolate supplier” or something. Here’s how.
6. Let your clients know they can come by anytime for a couple weeks and you’ll wrap a gift for them (limit the number and size!—us guys would bring the whole freaking tree).
7. Funky Calendars. Yep, old school, but they still work. Be the first, or be the funkiest—they’ll have it up all year.
8. Credit Card Debt Seminar—a friend told me about a guy who sponsored a seminar on December 22 with an expert on how to manage all the credit card debt you’re about to pile up. With only two weeks of planning, he had a hundred people there (during the day, people, not at night!).
9. Annual Planning Event—All kinds of opportunities for strategic planning, tax planning, financial planning, insurance, fitness. You get the idea. You can do these before or right after New Years, but start recruiting for them now (3-4 weeks out is plenty of planning time for most people.)
10. Do charity work as a company and get everyone involved. A local plumbing company asks everyone to work for sixteen hours for their favorite charity, and pays them. TV and radio shows like these kinds of things and just might feature your biz.
11. Make a charitable donation in the name of a particular client(s) and let them know with a nice card or pic.
12. Press Release—Connect a newsworthy idea about your business to the holidays—it’s called “piggybacking” in fancy PR terms. News organizations are notoriously slow during this time—you just might get it picked up by them as well.
13. Give something back. Offer an award for someone you admire, courageous kids, notable givers, create a scholarship—dinner and a ceremony (before December 1).
14. TurkeyCam—CallingDucks.com has a wild turkey cam. You could pardon a turkey or other “dinner” and put up a live video link to watch it being pampered. Come up with a clever slogan and YouTube it. Could be a sensation.
15. Holiday poll—Do a simple poll to your clients, or on Facebook, Google+, etc., and announce the results. Survey what small business owners really want for the holidays, or maybe their biggest pet peeve about holiday shopping.
16. Hand-deliver gift cards to your clients from a local coffee shop or restaurant. Get an appointment to spend it with them.
17. Send a cheap watch as a gag gift, with a note that says, “Happy New Year! It’s about time we did some business together.” Argh.
18. Send a New Year’s card—don’t get lost in the Christmas card shuffle. And everyone celebrates New Year’s.
19. Send a nice, small crystal office candy bowl with THEIR name engraved on it. Then send refresher candies three to four times a year at other holidays.
20. Offer gift certificates at X% discount for the “slow” time. This is a great idea for photographers, carpet cleaners, etc. Sell the slow time now!
21. Tie your product or 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!
22. Organize a shopping trip for elderly clients and let them bring a friend of their choosing. Rent a van or two. This has been a wild success for some CPAs, financial planners, bankers, real estate agents, etc.
23. What great idea do you have to use the holidays to build your business? Share it here!
Hit The Ground Running In January
Bonus points. Most people wait until January 2 to begin calling people and setting up appointments, which means they’re not back in the full swing of things until January 15. Set those appointments up in early to mid-December and you can hit the ground running with a full slate of business the day after New Year’s.
Have a great time growing in December!
Article as seen on Inc.com