By Etha Walters
While we are all looking at Wall Street and the big three auto manufacturers, many small businesses are looking toward the holiday season with a heavy sigh. What is a profitable time for some is a nightmare of a dormant time for others. It is easy to worry about the holidays when the economy is crumbling and suddenly, old Ebenezer doesn't look so foolish for keeping a grip on all of his pocket change.
Even though things may be slowing to a grinding halt, there is still a way to be proactive and even participate in charities over the holiday season. Here are some tips for a slow time in the economy to save money and gain new ground during the holiday season.
- Lower building maintenance by sending employees home to work – In a world of blackberrys, internet and FTP allowing your employees to work from home will provide savings on your utility bill by turning down the heat, turning off lights, printers, computers and copiers that are not in use.
- Celebrate the holidays with a covered dish luncheon and a donation drive. - Your company can collect non perishable foods, coats, hats, gloves and scarves and other items to donate to those in need due to cold weather and tough times.
- Electronic holiday cards will save on printing and mailing costs.
- Use down time to catch up with and connect with new Myspace friends. – Don't under estimate the power of social networking. The more people who are familiar with your company the more referrals you will have. Occasional greetings with Myspace acquaintances and regularly updating the information on your pages will help promote your business. Don't forget Facebook and LinkedIn as well.
- Save business trips for after the holiday season to keep airline and hotel costs down. If avoidance is not an option and traveling is a must, take as little with you as possible. Leave all your computers and equipment at your office. Using a technology rental firm can cut costs and aggravation by having all your technology needs delivered to your destination and everything set up and ready to work for you. It saves time, It saves hassle getting through airports, and it will all work when you get there so all you need is your carry on.
Cutting a few costs, company involvement with the community and networking are all great tools to help small businesses stay afloat in troubled times and even thrive during the holiday season. After all, we don't really want to be like Ebenezer.