4 Ways to Grow Your Business During the Holidays

‘Tis the season for gift giving, get-togethers and … business growth?

Whether you want to thank current customers, reach new customers or boost sales, the holidays can give you prime opportunities to grow your business and build brand recognition.

We’ve compiled a few ideas to help you give your business the gift of success. Oh, and we’ve included an idea that’s just for you, because there’s no better time to give yourself a little time off and recharge your batteries!

1. Exhibit at a holiday pop-up market.

Your city is likely host to a number of pop-up artisan, maker and other holiday markets throughout the holiday season. Whether you’ve exhibited multiple times or this is your first show, why not add your business to the exhibitor line-up?

If you’ve exhibited before, participating in a holiday pop-up market can help you reach a different audience. And if you haven’t exhibited before, the cozy, more intimate feel of most holiday pop-up markets can give you a welcome environment in which to sell your goods or services.

Since holiday pop-up markets are traditionally hosted on a smaller scale than other types of events or conventions, check with event organizers or a fellow exhibitor to get the scoop on your booth space. You may find, especially if you’ve exhibited before, that you can scale back your typical display. Regardless of the space constraints, you’ll want to be sure you have basic booth supplies: a table cover, signage, business cards and other collateral, plenty of product and the appropriate display fixtures.

In addition to selling your goods or services, look for other ways you can use the holiday pop-up market to your business’s advantage. If you have an email newsletter, for example, set out a sign-up sheet so that people can opt-in. Be sure to post on your company’s social media channels with the applicable event hashtags and handles. And if time allows, carve out a few minutes to network with your fellow exhibitors and learn more about what other local entrepreneurs are doing.

2. Connect with customers.

The holidays are the perfect time of year to thank your customers by sending a personalized holiday card or even a small gift. Work with your local commercial printer to design and print an eye-catching branded holiday card. You might also make a list of key customers, stakeholders and supporters (and check it twice!) and send them a small token of your thanks. You certainly don’t need to compromise your budget on gifts, but a thoughtfully selected gift can leave a lasting impression on the recipient, which likely translates into continued brand loyalty and support.

Stuck on what to give? Shop local! There’s likely no shortage of incredible brands and makers in your community. Not only will you delight your recipients, but you’ll also support a fellow entrepreneur. And if your recipient list is relatively short (and your budget allows), try assembling a locally themed gift box that celebrates some of your city’s best flavors and finds. Consider a bag of local coffee, a colorful coffee mug and a locally made sweet treat; or two pieces of locally made glassware paired with a local wine or spirit. Add a short handwritten note and you’ll have everything you need to surprise and delight your recipients.

3. Launch a holiday promotion.

Breaking news: people spend a lot of money during the holiday season! Shocking, right? With so much buying activity, this is an ideal time of year to launch your own holiday promotion.

The details, of course, depend on what you sell. Popular promotions include free shipping, a percentage off your purchase, gift with purchase or introducing a new, limited edition item. As you decide the specifics of your promotion, keep in mind your customers and your bottom line. For some small businesses, for example, offering free shipping — or even a flat shipping rate — can be cost-prohibitive, erasing any possible net gains of the promotion. Be sure to do the math before you commit to an idea.

One other tip? Think a few steps ahead of your promotion. A holiday promotion is, of course, intended to drive sales. But how can you use that promotion to get people to come back and buy from you once the holidays are over? You could include a coupon in their order. Or enclose a postcard or other brief informational piece that highlights other products. By keeping your long-term goals in mind, you’re more likely to avoid customers who simply swoop in for the deal and never return.

Whatever type of promotion you decide to launch, be sure to carefully track it so that you can measure performance and decide if it’s something you want to do again. And don’t forget to promote your promotion! If you’re exhibiting at a holiday pop-up market, whip up a brief postcard with details on the promotion. If you have email subscribers, send them an announcement so that they can take advantage. You could even generate some anticipation by teasing the announcement, then revealing the promotion on a specified date on your website, social media platforms and any other marketing channels you use.

4. Treat yourself with time off.

Entrepreneurs typically don’t have much — if any — downtime. But the holidays are an ideal time to give yourself the gift of a break. After all, you’ll likely have plans to celebrate with family and friends, and you should do what you can to soak up every minute.

Look for other opportunities to take at least one day off and do something you love … or, better yet, nothing at all! It’s easy to guilt yourself into working, but you deserve a break. And it will help keep you rested, energized and at a lower risk for burnout. With a little holiday R&R, you’ll be refreshed and ready to conquer your 2019 business goals.

We’ll leave you with one last gift: the gift of knowledge! If you find yourself in need of resources or insight regarding a particular business topic, register for Kauffman FastTrac, our free online course that helps you launch your business. If you’re post-launch, that’s no problem — you might just find a helpful refresher or information about a topic you hadn’t yet considered. The best part about Kauffman FastTrac? It’s self-paced, so you can learn on your own time, including in your holiday PJs! Hot cocoa is optional.

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