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December 23, 2021

Episode 037: Five Tips for Preparing Your Business & Heart for the Holidays as a Small Business Owner

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The holidays are here, friends! And, as wonderful as this time of year is, it can be a lot for small business owners and often hard to enjoy because there’s just so much on our plates.

With this in mind, today, I want to share five tips for preparing your business and heart for the holidays as a small business owner so that you can enjoy the holiday season without letting things fall through the cracks in your business.

1. Turn your out-of-the-office response on.

First of all, you’ll likely receive a lot of messages over the holidays from current and potential clients simply because people have time off of work. As a result, they have time to do fun things and plan ahead.

I mean, as a wedding photographer, I tend to get A LOT of emails during the holidays simply because couples are using their time off to plan their weddings.

With this in mind, I highly recommend turning your out-of-the-office response on. Simply include when you’ll be back, when those emailing or messaging you can expect to hear back from you, and any links or resources that might be helpful in the meantime.

While so many of us often let our inboxes lead our lives, your clients and customers will understand that you need a break and are also taking time off of work.

Enjoy your time with your family and friends; let your out-of-the-office response set expectations; and when you’re back in the office, respond to missed messages promptly. In fact, I recommend blocking out your first day back at work to simply respond to messages. This will allow you to enjoy the holiday and serve your clients well.

2. Create an email template for new inquiries so you can respond quickly.

While I do think it’s important to stay out of your inbox as much as you can during the holidays, countless studies have shown that businesses that respond quickly to inquiries are more likely to make sales. This has certainly proven true in my experience as a wedding photographer.

So you can focus on your loved ones and holiday traditions and not miss out on business, I want to encourage you to create an email template that you can easily copy and paste, make a few changes to, and send to all inquiries. This is going to allow you to respond quickly and compose a message in a fraction of the time.

By the way, this isn’t just a holiday tip. Throughout the rest of the year, having templates for inquiries will save you so much time and allow you to respond faster, and responding faster will likely lead to more business.

3. Schedule the activities you want to do, & arrange your work schedule around them.

Between wanting to see local Christmas lights, making sugar cookies, color coordinating Christmas wrapping, attending friends’ holiday parties, seeing family, and doing all of the other holiday things, the holidays just fly by. And, I don’t know about you, but every year, I wish I had more time for traditions and activities than I actually do.

Chances are, you can’t do everything every year, and that’s okay. You may have to mix traditions and activities up a little bit every year. But, to ensure you do get to do what matters most to you and your loved ones, schedule the activities you want to do and arrange your work schedule around them.

Again, there are so many fun holiday activities you could participate in, but unless you put “go see Christmas lights” on the calendar, chances are, December will fly by, and you just won’t get to go. So, if there’s anything you definitely want to do this holiday season, put these activities on the calendar and arrange your work schedule and life in general around them.

4. Plan your social media content in advance.

Next, if you aren’t already planning your social media content in advance, sit down and prep your content for the next couple weeks.

Developing content in the moment is difficult and will likely be even harder with holiday “distractions.” However, developing and scheduling your content ahead of time will allow you to be more thoughtful, more strategic, better prepared, and—most importantly—more present.

Now, as you’re developing your content, you might know that you want to include a photo of your family’s matching Christmas PJs, a reel of a Christmas activity, or something like that. You might not be able to develop that post completely ahead of time. But, you can still make a place for that post in your content calendar and create a plan. This will still allow you to share that post, reel, or whatever in a fraction of the time.

5. Be present.

With COVID, the holidays have been different since 2020, and I don’t know about you, but the chaos of the last couple years has only made me more thankful for time with friends and family.

As an enneagram 3 and someone who struggles with success and work idols, I naturally want to be business focused all the time. And, in the past, I’ve missed out on time with loved ones because of this, or I haven’t been fully present because my brain is busy thinking about what’s next. Can you relate?

Whatever you need to do this holiday season, be present. Put your phone away. Focus on the people around you. And, remember how blessed you are to do life with the people you love.

Side note: If you’re going to grab videos and such to share on your Insta story, don’t share them live. Wait until you have a quiet moment. Chances are, there will be a car ride or a few moments alone at some point. Don’t miss out on what’s happening because you’re sharing things on Instagram. 

Also, if you’re a Christian or if you’re celebrating another holiday related to your faith during the holiday season, being present also means remembering to reflect on the reasons you’re celebrating.

It’s easy to get caught up in family gatherings, gift giving, cooking, and everything else that comes with the holiday season. My plan is simply to spend a morning by our Christmas tree with a cup of coffee reading the Christmas story and thanking God for His grace, mercy, and plan for us, which required sending his son.

Friend, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season full of loved ones, good health, quality time, and rest. Merry Christmas, happy New Year, happy holidays, and just merry everything!

Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Discover the four most common marketing mistakes small businesses make and exactly how to solve them! Download our guide.

Leverage Kelly’s marketing experience, insights, and leadership to grow your business.

As the founder and chief marketing strategist at Treefrog Marketing, a co-host of the Priority Pursuit Podcast, a StoryBrand Certified Guide, and fractional chief marketing officer, Kelly Rice has spent more than two decades helping small businesses take their companies to the next level by providing trustworthy leadership and building effective marketing strategies and systems.

She has dedicated her career to helping small businesses succeed because she knows, firsthand, how hard they work to make their communities a better place. 

Still, many people undervalue the strength and ingenuity of small businesses, but not Kelly. She believes they deserve to have a marketing partner and strategy that works as hard as they do.

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