Seasonal Planning And Etiquette – What I Do As A Small Business Owner
Black Friday has passed us by and now we’re firmly into the Christmas season. I thought it would be a good idea to blog about my thoughts on etiquette as a small business owner and how we can show appreciation to our clients.
All too often, seasonal events throughout the year like Christmas and Valentine’s Day are seen as ripe opportunities for making more money and that is true to an extent, they are good promotional periods of time because society has come to accept this is what happens around these events. However, it doesn’t mean we should push sales to the detriment of our hard worked for rapport with clients and peers.
Small business etiquette is all about giving good customer service
Shoddy customer service is one of the biggest turn-offs for clients and so we all strive to give the best possible service that we can. Having empathy with your clients and putting yourself in their shoes is the best way of ensuring their needs and wants aren’t just met but their expectations are exceeded wherever possible.
So, how does this work with Christmas?
I know that for me, one of the biggest causes of stress at this time of year is the bombardment of emails with ‘seasonal promotions’. I think it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of doing what the other businesses are doing at this time of year but is that good customer service? And, if you’re following the rest of the flock, what’s going to make you stand out as being different?
There’s nothing wrong with running seasonal offers for your business IF they are relevant to your audience. I think a well-thought-out campaign that genuinely offers something useful to your audience and that you use as a sales funnel campaign that they can easily opt-out of is the way forward.
Go against the grain and show your clients some appreciation
Going back to the original intentions behind seasonal events – being grateful for Thanksgiving, a time of ‘togetherness’ at Christmas, loving others at Valentine’s, etc, we can see how easily these messages have been forgotten.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re religious or spiritual or completely atheist, these messages of love, understanding and hope resonate with us all (especially with current world events like the cost-of-living crisis, climate crisis, and ongoing wars).
One thing I like to do at Christmas (and other times of the year!) is to give back to my clients in some way and show my appreciation for them. In the past, this has taken the form of small gifts but you can do other things like meeting for a coffee (even virtually) for a friendly catch-up, sending handwritten thank you notes, featuring your customers in your marketing content and encouraging others to support them, etc.
It’s the intention behind the act that matters rather than any monetary value attached to it.
By showing appreciation and giving back like this, you’re reinforcing that rapport between you and your clients. And I think this is so important at times of the year that are notorious for being about corporate greed and competition. But marking other important days in your calendar with appreciation can also be worthwhile, things like client anniversaries, or even hosting your own annual appreciation day!
Be yourself this Christmas
I think my biggest tip this year is just to be yourself at Christmas. It can be a difficult time for many of us with the additional stresses and strain this time of year can bring. You don’t have to jump on board the marketing hype if you don’t want to. You don’t have to win more clients at this time of year if you don’t want to.
By being your authentic self at this time of year, as at any time of the year, it’s easier for your ‘tribe’ of ideal clients to find and resonate with you. That, in my experience, is worth far more to your business than seasonal promotions and sales can ever achieve.