Businesses have cycles. Some do extremely well during the holidays. That may be our biggest season if we are in a product industry that sells well around Christmas time. But what if you don’t handle something that is a good present? What if you are in a service industry? What if your product or service bottoms out in December? If that is the case we may feel that the holidays sabotage our regular routines and it seems futile to try and get any work done. We accept our fate and slink off home with our tail between our legs. Maybe we book our holidays, not out of sense of celebration but in a state of defeat because it is useless to try and get any work done. Maybe there is an opportunity that you are missing…
December Is A Great Networking Month
Christmas provides us with some networking opportunities that don’t happen at any other time of year. Some of your clients have Christmas parties. If you attend them with a gift there is a very good chance that you will gain valuable referrals right on site. There are other special networking events offered by your local Chamber Of Commerce and other networking organizations. You should find out about them and see if there may be a chance to have a table there or to offer a door prize. Do you have a seasonal special that you could offer? There are other opportunities to attend charity events and be featured as a sponsor. Sometimes the cost is small and you may be able to hand out some kind of branded paraphernalia that puts the word out about your company. Could you possibly put together some kind of package that could be drawn for? There are red hat parties. Check on LinkedIn and see who has been promoting a Christmas event. What causes can be promoted? Perhaps you could share their event on your Facebook page and they would see that as a great help.
Besides all of the obvious corporate events there are the private family functions and the friends and associates functions. Who is going to be there? Is there anything special that you can bring that would be seen as a blessing to the others who are attending without being too self-promoting? It is always good to be a giver. Giving is a great seed to sow into the life of your business.
It may be that you can’t really do much business at these events but once you are there you are getting your face out there. Gather as many business cards as you can and when you are back in your office send them a quick Christmas card or an e-card. Add them to your LinkedIn connections or send them your specially crafted email Christmas newsletter. Once you have them on your follow up list there are many ways that you can connect with them over the coming year, but Christmas is a great time to grow your list. Get out into the community and see who you can meet.
Keep Gifts On Hand
Ideally the best gift for your business is not a calendar or a pen. Everyone who is in business offers those things, and they are rarely treasured. There are many creative items that can make your company stand out. The best kind of gift to offer would be a branded item that will be used over and over again. For instance, if you sell RVs get some blankets made with your name on them or your logo. Every time they camp that blanket will get used and remind them once again where they bought their RV. If you sell homes consider branded barbeque items. Every time they barbeque they will think of you. Chocolate is a great idea for a Christmas present. You can have that made with your logos imprinted right in the chocolate. It is a tasty treat that leaves an impression. What can you have made for a few hundred dollars that is going to give a lasting memory all year long?
If you have not had time to do anything special then at least invest in a nice box of Christmas cards and several good quality boxes of chocolates. They can be kept in your car and given out in a pinch so you always look like you were prepared.
Tis the season to be merry. Happy Networking!
Kerry George is the owner of the Canadian Imperial Business Network which is currently the largest business network in Alberta and rapidly expanding across the country. She is a serial entrepreneur/author and speaker with a zest for life and a passion to help others succeed in increasing their potential and their bottom line. Kerry has several publications and blogs that you can follow and welcomes most interaction online.