Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Customer Christmas Cards Do’s and Don’t’s

As a small business owner, you probably have a group of customers who are especially loyal and who really appreciate your business. You may want to send them a Christmas card. This shows that you really enjoy working with them and you can be sociable rather than all business, all the time. What should you include in a customer’s Christmas card? What should you avoid?

Send cards that are of high quality (files if the cards are digital, good quality paper if they are to be sent in the mail or given out). If your cards are cheap, that will send the message the that your company is cheap. Remember to be tasteful and sensitive to varying customer views and opinions by keeping the theme of the card tame and traditional. Also, be aware of different religious beliefs and customs. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, so if you’re unsure, send out a Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings card.

For the inside of the card, write a brief personal message and hand-write a signature. This really makes the card personal and memorable. If you don’t have a stamp, include a business card so the person remembers what business the card came from a few weeks down the road.

While address labels are convenient and work for mass mailings, that is exactly the message you do not want to send with your Christmas cards (that it is a mass mailing). Hand write the address of the recipient (you can use printed envelopes or labels for your business address in the top left corner). Always stick to professional tiles and use proper salutations.

When it comes to sending out the cards, send it to their business address unless you know them personally. Try to have all your cards in the mail by December 15th to ensure they arrive on time.

Christmas cards for your customers is a great personal touch that will not go unnoticed. Make it happen!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Should You Have an Office Holiday Party?

Around the time of Christmas and New Years, there are several events you’ll be invited to with friends and family. You enjoy this time of year, but it can be busy and stressful, too. Your employee team works hard, so they should get rewarded, right? Some businesses will decide to have a holiday party. It is a good idea? Should your business have a Christmas or New Year’s Eve party?

It can be fun and rewarding, but it can also be risky. If alcohol is served at the event, even at a location away from the office, it’s still a professional event. When drinks are involved, people tend to forget this. Rules still apply, and talking to your boss with a drink in his hand is no different than talking to your boss any other time. Then there’s the debate of attending or skipping it, and how long you should stay. To show commitment to the company, everyone should come for at least 30 minutes. Treat it as a “must attend” event, but if you’re the one inviting, don’t officially make it mandatory. Employees need to remember to dress professionally as well even if it’s not at the office.  People should stay away from business matters at the party—this is a time to socialize outside of work, and doing otherwise makes it appear as though they have an agenda.

General office party etiquette suggests you aren’t expected to provide a full meal, just light snacks. People should know that they may want to eat dinner beforehand. Just remember that if you choose to serve drinks at the party, there may be irresponsible people that will get intoxicated. Make it clear that if the party is on a weeknight, they are expected to show up to work the next day no matter what. Also remember that if the party ends early, some employees will go out to another venue afterward.

The choice of whether or not to have a party is ultimately up to you. But if you’d rather not take the risks involved, try offering a free office-wide lunch instead. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, so be sensitive to their needs as well. Overall, a short, low-key event such as a gift exchange over lunch tends to be the safer way to go.

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