We all know that holiday sales can make or break a retailer’s year, but did you know that no matter what your business is, these next few weeks can be a great opportunity for business growth?  Yes, while your competitors are stuck in neutral, you can make the most of the holiday season. Here are five ways you can grow your business during the holiday season and be poised for success in the New Year.

Build your Business

Five ways to build your business during the holiday season

Spread the holiday spirit within your community.

The holidays offer a fantastic chance to get your name out there in the community and to strengthen your image and your brand identity – and you can do it a way that makes everyone feel good while you are at it.  Depending on your product or service, brainstorm some ways you can participate in community celebrations or charitable events.  Get your staff involved to create a sense of giving and caring that makes everyone feel good. Here are a few ideas:

  • Volunteer to serve at a soup kitchen or other facility that feeds the poor.
  • Create a holiday giving tree in which employees purchase gifts for needy local kids.
  • Help sponsor a community New Year’s celebration.
  • Partner with organizations that deliver meals to the elderly or shut-ins.

Thank your Clients

How do you thank your clients and customers for their business? Is it usually a one-time thing? The holidays offer a natural opportunity to express appreciation and to remind clients to contact you for future business at the same time. Many companies have foregone the traditional mailed holiday card, but don’t discount the impact and power of a written note on a holiday greeting.  Consider sending out cards this year with a quick hand-written personal message to those clients who are really special. Running out of time for Christmas? This can be a New Year’s greeting as well.

Is e-mail more your style?  Check out some of the holiday card tools online to help you create a personalized e-mail greeting for your customers

Build your Team

The holiday season is a great time to build employee morale and loyalty. How can you honor the good work and attention to detail that your team has exhibited over the past year?  An obvious way is with a year-end bonus, and while certainly no one will say “no” to that, there are other ways to build your team.  Do you have a holiday party? Find way to incorporate the message of achievement into the event.

Using a little creativity and a nice dose of humor, think of ways you could have a company awards event. The key to this event is not competition but celebration. Look for ways to honor everyone on your team in small but meaningful — and fun — ways.  Especially consider awards for those who are not usually in the limelight.

Be sure to have someone take plenty of photos of your team as they laugh and have fun together. Post the best ones on your website and social media pages.

In addition to establishing an attitude of appreciation, you can use this event to announce plans for the coming year and to create excitement about the future.

Review the year and set goals

Speaking of the future, the holiday season provides a natural setting for pause and reflection. Take time to do a year-end review and planning session with your management team.

How did you do in meeting your 2013 business goals? How can you adjust and do better in 2014? Do you need to retool in order to build on a new direction that developed this year? Do you need to hire more staff or re-position any of the employees you have now?

Be sure to create an atmosphere of openness to new ideas in this meeting. Be free to brainstorm  and ask  plenty of “what if?” questions as you challenge yourself and your team to create new goals for the New Year.

Take time for your own personal reflection

Depending on your business and your own individual personality, you may need to use the next few weeks to recharge your batteries. There are ways to do this that can build your business either directly or indirectly.

  • Catch up on business-related reading. Many publications have valuable year-end reviews with ideas you can read and put into action next year.
  • Spend some time checking up on what your competitors are doing. How do you stack up compared with what they are doing this year?
  • Use holiday get-togethers as opportunities to network. You represent your brand wherever you are. So get out there, introduce yourself, tell folks what you do and see where the conversation leads.

You might have noticed that each of these steps has something to do with a form of personal connection. You’re right. The holidays are a chance to disconnect from the everyday routine and to find ways to reconnect with the people who make your business work.  Don’t miss this valuable opportunity.