3 Keys For a Small Business Owner at the Holidays

3 Keys For a Small Business Owner at the Holidays

For a lot of people, the holidays are a great opportunity to take time off and enjoy being with friends and family. The last week of the year can be an ideal time to relax, travel, have fun and celebrate. A lot of people look forward to this week all year long.

This is not necessarily the case for the small business owner. For us, this can be one of the most stressful times of the year.

I’ve spent many, many holidays building and running Lemon Squad, a small business that protects car consumers. Through a lot of hard-earned experience, I’ve learned three important keys for the holidays.

For my fellow owners and entrepreneurs, I’d like to share three keys for successfully navigating this joyful – and somewhat stressful – time of year.

#1: Showing Up for Our Employees & Independent Contractors

As a small business owner, my employees and independent contractors in the field meant everything to me. The success of my business depended in large part on their skills, expertise, and dedication to my company and serving customers. I wanted my employees and independent contractors to know how much I valued and appreciated their efforts. But every year was different, and what I could offer them at the holidays varied from year to year. I would give cash bonuses, since everybody can use the extra money at the holidays. I definitely felt a responsibility to be busy enough through the end of the year. There was always the stressor that we keep business coming in so that we could keep all our employees, especially at the holidays. Key #1: Tell employees how much you appreciate them, give as much as you can as a cash bonus, and make sure to keep the business going and keep it growing.

#2: Showing Up for Our Customers

My number one priority was meeting my customer’s expectations. That can be stressful in itself, but it’s even harder at the holidays, when the people we served were often stressed out and tempers could ignite quick. I would do my best to listen to their concerns (no matter what their tone of voice) and to grant them some leeway, knowing that this can be a hard time of year for a lot of people, and patience is often running thin. Key #2: Be kind and empathetic to customers, and show them patience and consideration.

#3: Showing Up for Our Families (and Ourselves)

Many employees like to take time off to be with their families at the holidays, and I was always grateful to be able to offer this to them. But in a small business where everybody’s got a role, when somebody’s taking time off, who’s going to fill it? That’s right – the owner. This time of year, I often had to step up and work many more hours. Luckily, my family was supportive and understood. It wasn’t ideal, but it was temporary. Because once the holidays were over, I make extra time for my family and for myself to get out, relax, and enjoy some downtime. Key #3: Schedule some much needed family and personal downtime after the holiday season.

With these three keys in mind, the holidays can be a whole lot more enjoyable for the small business owner!

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