The Christmas period and how it impacts on the Small Business

After one of the most hectic ends to one month/start to another I have ever experienced on both the professional and personal front with some large projects coming to fruition, a number of new client wins and a new baby, I am back on the blog trail and have decided to write about………this time of year and 2011 as I am very interested in hearing any thoughts on the below….

Christmas Party

Traditionally the Christmas and New Year period become labelled the “silly season” where people in business let off steam after a hard 12 months and generally work a 2 or possibly 3 week month before taking time off to recharge for the next working year.
This was very much my experience of corporate life; an easy month for the same disposable income as the busy months with the possibility of a bonus and always a very good pi** up at the end. In addition, being senior management for a long period of time, I knew that any Christmas/New Year work wouldn’t fall onto my lap as I was off from Christmas eve until Jan 2nd at the earliest!!

However, is this really the case for the small business owner? Do we also see December as a time to take it easy (…sorry, easier) or do we see December as a nightmare month where time available to do things is dramatically reduced, income potential is reduced, bills take longer to be paid, the people we need to get hold of are very rarely available and the chance to have an office party is non existent?

The Grinch

Well, I am afraid that after 16 years of corporate life, for the last 2 years I now fall into the category of December being a very hard month as the person who owns and runs Bath Marketing Consultancy. That is not to say that I am a “Grinch” when it comes to the Christmas period! No. What I am saying is that when a working month is dramatically reduced and the workload stays the same or actually increases, it makes it very hard to let off steam in the traditional way!

When it comes to the industry I operate in – Marketing – I am already seeing a trend towards some businesses taking a serious look at their Christmas marketing with email marketing, Christmas cards, gifts,  new initiatives etc and some of my clients are looking at 2011 in terms of putting together a strategic plan focusing more of SEO or Social Media.

Unlike the vast majority of my blog posts, I am not going to give advice on what to do. What I am interested in however, is your experience of December. Are you taking the foot off the pedal or are you furiously working at home late into the night?!

p.s. don’t feel too sorry for me as I am going to the Sole Traders Christmas lunch at Babington House on Friday and will not have my phone on…….purely to support my clients of course!!

One thought on “The Christmas period and how it impacts on the Small Business

  1. Heather Stanbury December 16, 2010 / 3:57 pm

    Hi PaulCongratulations on the Baby, really great news. I think Christmas varies depending on the business. The company I used to work for closed between christmas and new year and had a relatively extravagant christmas party. However, christmas cards to clients were dependent on whose client it was and whether the member of staff had the inclination or time to send them rather than it forming a marketing function. The business also gave no bonuses and to my knowledge haven't given staff a pay rise in 4 years (not encouraging christmas cheer), so it was a rather sad fact that roles of sellotape used to go missing from the stationary cupboard in the run up to the festive season. In contrast, the company that I work for now, which incidently is open between christmas and new year, had a lovely surprise this morning when the companies social committee dressed up in christmas outfits and came around to our desks with bucks fizz and mince pies for everyone. The benefit of 'winding down' time is that projects which normally get pushed aside can be sorted out and finished leaving the important work to start again afresh in January. The benefit that small companies have is that being a close working unit means that everyone is in it together. If your employees work between christmas and new year, it can give them a boost to see the boss turn up as well. Merry Christmas Paul to you, your wife and your little ones.

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