Friday, December 04, 2009

Surviving the 2009 holiday season

For many of us, the phrase “surviving the holiday season” means limiting weight gain to five pounds or fewer or shopping without getting pummeled by our fellow shoppers. For small business owners, though, there are some other, more serious considerations according to this post in the Mainstreet Business Journal.

One of the biggest is making sure customers don’t get so distracted with the holidays that they forget to pay their bills on time. Most people like to take a little time off around the holidays, and when they do they tend to lose track of the normal rhythm of the business.

Monitoring your receivables, and reminding customers about payment, becomes critical at this time of the year. After all, if you don’t receive payment before December 24, you probably won’t see it until after January 4, 2010.

Another good one is to involve your employees in what’s happening in the business. If they feel like they have more of a stake in it they’re likely to work a little harder and give a little more of themselves.

Something else you can do is find a way to reward employees even if you can’t pay regular bonuses. For most people the reward isn’t about the amount, it’s about appreciation and recognition of their efforts. Give each one an extra day, or even a half day, to go shopping or take care of other needs. Buy them a nice but inexpensive gift, or give each a plate of cookies with an apology that you couldn’t do more right now. Doing something, no matter how small, shows that you value their contribution. That goes a long way, especially in tough times.

What else do you think is important for businesses to do to survive the holiday season?

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