Holiday Success Tips for Small Business


The holiday season is hectic for everyone, especially small business owners (SMBs). However, there are ways for SMBs to truly enjoy this time, without compromising the success of their business. 
Utilize Partnerships 
According to the latest small business Index, small business owners reported that their primary holiday concerns include cash flow (32 percent) and productivity (23 percent). To stay productive and on-task, SMBs should lean on business partners for support with necessary business solutions, products, and services. Building strong relationships is key to extending capabilities, and supporting the longevity of small business success. Additionally, find ways to incentivize employees, such as with mini-contests or a holiday party, to keep spirits high and focused on being productive ahead of the holidays. 
Create a Plan 
It’s important for small business owners to plan for the holidays, so their business can thrive during what is often one of the busiest times of the year, and end 2016 on a strong note. Building an end-of-year strategy helps SMBs maintain momentum and stay on track. This strategic planning allows SMBs to account for business changes and influxes. In addition, keeping momentum up is key to meeting end-of-year sales goals and deadlines. 
Further, the Index found that 18 percent of small businesses listed planning for the next year as a concern during the holidays. Ensuring day-to-day work is covered so that there is enough time to thoughtfully develop a plan for the next year, will take away last-minute stressors. Set aside time devoted to end-of-year close outs and 2017 planning. 
Hire Seasonal Staff 
Small business owners need to stay nimble and resourceful in order to survive. However, nearly one-in-three (30 percent) SMBs indicated they could benefit from hiring temporary employees during the holiday season. Of those that could benefit from the extra seasonal help, 87 percent plan to hire temporary employees, with the majority (37 percent) planning to hire six to 10 workers. Seasonal staff can be imperative during the chaos of the season, to help with increased business needs and allow full-time employees to take time off to enjoy the holidays. It may also help you reach end-of-year goals and give you extra time for 2017 planning! 
Take Time Off 
Only one-in-four SMBs (27 percent) plan to work during the holidays, which indicates that most small business owners understand the benefits of prioritizing schedules and creating time for work-life balance. Taking a step back to unplug from work is critical so that small business owners don’t burn out during the holidays. It’s essential to make time to recharge and be with friends and family. 
Preparing for the holidays allows small business owners to better enjoy the season without causing business to suffer. All small businesses are unique, but taking the time to realize and utilize partnerships, develop a smart plan, maintain momentum, hire extra help and step away for a bit, will help to streamline business during the end-of-year rush. 
Survey Methodology/Sample Qualifications 
Interviews are conducted via the Internet among a nationally representative sample of small and medium-sized businesses. The Quarter 3 wave of interviewing was conducted from July 15, 2016 to September 30, 2016 among a total of 2,858 small and medium-sized businesses. Interviewing will be conducted on a monthly basis in order to track shifts that occur over time.


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Senior Director of Contract Marketing for Office Depot, Inc.

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