Season's Greetings for a Small Budget

A down economy is a reality we’re all dealing with but that doesn’t have to squelch your holiday cheer, especially if you’re a business owner. If you don’t have the budget to share a traditional holiday gift with your valued clients and colleagues, here are a few amazing outside-the-box ideas to try instead.

Discounts, coupons, or special offers. Maybe you can’t shell out the money for a gift, but what about using what you already have as a gift? Can you offer a special discount or coupon for your products or services? Send it in an email with a personal holiday greeting from you. Remember, it’s a down economy for everyone, which means everyone will appreciate getting a good deal.

Barter and trade. Think about your customer list. Is there someone you know that owns a restaurant, a bakery, or a even a farm? Approach them about trading products or services for the holidays. Chances are, they’re in the same boat as you. See what you can come up with together. You might be the answer to each other’s prayers!

Host a free concert. Ask a local school or church choir to come and perform at your place of business and invite your clients and colleagues to attend. Or, ask a talented friend to accompany your party for a holiday sing-in of favorite carols. You’ll have a great time spreading holiday cheer, and you won’t have to spend much, if anything at all.

Sponsor a contest. Instead of trying to purchase individual gifts for your entire list, why not purchase one grand prize and create a contest? You could have people submit photos of their ugliest holiday sweater (and we all know how stiff the competition can get in that category) or have them submit their favorite holiday memory. They’ll have a great time competing for the prize and you’ll have a great time reviewing the entries, which you can even display in your place of business. To be fair, choose your winner randomly.

Reach out and reconnect. Never underestimate the power of a personal connection. Yes, a gift is nice, but it’s the message of the gift that matters most—what you’re really saying isĀ I value our relationship. If you can’t convey that message with material means, send a card to say it or even pick up the phone. Let your clients and colleagues know exactly what they mean to you. You’ll be amazed at how much it will mean to both of you.

If you have other big ideas for a small budget, share them in the comments section.

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