Whether we’re ready or not, the holiday season is upon us.
The leaves are changing alongside the climates of our businesses and the attitudes of our customers. This time of year we come to expect community and friendliness. We come to expect frantic sales and shoppers that are ready to spend. In short, the holidays represent a season of literal and figural change when it comes to our SMBs.
The holidays can be equally bittersweet, though. As we reach the final few weeks of the year, we tend to reflect on many of the things we didn’t do as business owners. Perhaps a project or two fell through. Maybe this year didn’t go quite as well as we projected. Although the holidays are meant to represent prosperity and joy, sometimes we tend to focus on the negative instead.
But that doesn’t get our business anywhere, does it?
Instead, consider all that your business does have to be thankful for. While we often focus on the gloom and doom of the business word, a bit of perspective can go a long way when it comes to keeping a positive outlook and growing a company. What does your business have to be thankful for?
Small businesses don’t get too many opportunities to take advantage of holiday marketing; however, such opportunities must be capitalized on. We’ve noted in the past that holidays aren’t always the best time for SMBs, especially due to the competition of big box stores. Regardless, holiday marketing is on your side as you attempt to attract busy buyers and keep the local movement going. This is the time of year to get creative and take command of your business, ending strongly and setting a good precedent for next year. Remember that holiday marketing allows your business an opportunity to:
- Create a sense of urgency around the need for your business and its products
- Understand the reach of your business (think: email and social) and how much your audience is willing to listen, buy and come again
- Test offers and deals that you may consider rolling out in the future
A Brighter Economy
Remember how we mentioned that gloom and doom is often the name of the game when it comes to the business world? This is doubly true during the holiday season as we reflect on the haves and have-nots, those in need and the strength of our communities. Just a few years ago, it was difficult to bring up the American economy without eliciting doomsday visions or a screaming match. Now, we can at least talk about how far we’ve come.
Unemployment sits at approximately 7.3% at present versus 8.9% this time in 2011 (and as high as 10% in 2009). The picture is becoming much brighter for the country as a whole when it comes to the businesses we support. While we may not be out of the woods yet, we can be thankful that things look to be on the up (slowly but surely).
The American Consumer
We can’t talk much about the economy without talking about the American consumer, which we all have to be thankful for.
Last year, over $59 billion was spent during Black Friday weekend and that number is only projected to grow this year. Granted, much of this money will be brought into big box corporations, yet still shows us that there are customers out there that are ready to spend. It’s our job as small business owners to reach them.
Say what you will about the holidays and American consumerism. Big and small businesses alike can depend on their customers to turn out in some way, shape or form. Those consumers are out there for us. Through some of those aforementioned holiday marketing tactics, the task of acquiring such customers becomes a bit easier.
Small Business Saturday
Finally, there’s Small Business Saturday.
The counterpoint to Black Friday, the third annual celebration of SMBs look to be even bigger and better than its previous incarnations. With over 3.2 million “Likes” on Facebook, Small Business Saturday shows us that today’s consumers still support local businesses. As the holiday continues to grow and Black Friday continues to raise questions about SMB participation, we can only hope that the local movement gains steam from here. Is your business already on board?
The Bottom Line
Believe it not, small businesses have plenty to be thankful for. From economic freedom to the drive of the holiday consumer, you have the potential to make this holiday season your best one yet. How will you make it happen?
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