Leverage Resources to Boost Holiday Season Productivity

End the year on a positive noteEditor’s note: This post is sponsored by Staples. All opinions and thoughts are my own.



This is probably something that small business owners already know – or at least feel in their bones – but on average they work 52 hours a week, according to a recent Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index.

Further, most work six days a week and one out of five works seven days a week! And if you’ll let me tighten the screws a bit more, I suspect the amount of hours many small business owners log will go even higher as they contend with the demands of the holiday season.

All of this means that finding ways to save time and accomplish important holiday and year-end tasks simultaneously, is extremely valuable for small business owners. Local Staples stores and the company’s ecommerce website can help out. I’m going to point out some specific ideas in a moment, but let me start with a few general observations.

First, Staples is a unique combination of merchandise and services that small businesses need. This means that on a single trip to Staples, you – or one of your employees – can knock a lot of things off that “to-do” list. You can get all the office supplies and furniture that you need, order custom printed products through Staples Copy & Print, package and ship items seven days a week, arrange technical computer support thru Staples EasyTech®, see and buy the latest technology, grab gifts for employees and important clients, and much more.

And when you’ve finally escaped from your business and are relaxing at home, if you want to hit the Staples website or mobile app, you can do virtually the same things from the comfort of your living room while you’re getting in some family time.

Now let’s hit some specifics that relate directly to the holiday season and some year-end tasks.

Printing services

Holiday cards. Virtually every small business owner should be sending greeting cards to at least their best customers during the season. It’s a very small investment and it accomplishes two objectives that are critical for small business owners:
*  Holiday cards promote customer loyalty, and
*  Holiday cards keep your business top-of-mind.
Staples offers a variety of holiday cards that you can customize for your small business. Take the time to craft a message that clearly communicates the gratitude you have for your customers. Get your entire team involved and personalize them before you put them in the mail. (By the way, this is one case where snail mail is by far the preferred delivery system!)

While you’re getting cards for your customers, order invitations for your holiday party, where you’re certain to hand out some of the next item…

Gift cards. The person who invented the gift card finally answered the age-old question, “What do I get someone who has everything?” Staples offers a wide variety of gift cards. They are one of the best ways to show your appreciation for your top customers and great crew.

Deck the halls. You probably won’t want to put boughs of holly all over your business, but banners that celebrate the season and promote sales are a great idea. If you’re a retail small business, you know that steering your customers to the right places within your store is critical. Staples can get you the banners you need so your customers immediately realize there are special holiday happenings in your store.

Small business necessities

Restock supplies. Many small businesses experience a lot of activity during the holiday season. Be sure you have all the supplies you need on hand to support that level of activity. This could be standard office supplies, or packing and shipping supplies, or any number of items. If you have to interrupt your workflow or pull people off the floor to make unscheduled runs for any items like these, you lose productivity and risk making a bad impression on customers. On Staples.com, select items can be ordered through their auto restock program, making it easy for small businesses to keep the supplies they need readily available. By the way, while you’re ordering, don’t forget about those break-room supplies to keep your employees energized and happy as well as cleaning supplies to keep your business spic and span.

Prep for 2016. Many companies set budgets for all kinds of supplies and necessities. See where you’re at in your budget and if you have some money left to spend, use it to put yourself in a strong position for the coming year.

Technology updates

I suggest you treat yourself to this trip to Staples so you can spend some time browsing the latest computers, mobile devices, storage devices, printers, etc. I always advocate getting new technology soon after it is introduced because then you get the longest useful life out of it and that enhances productivity.

While you’re looking at the new hardware, talk to the Staples EasyTech associates about tuning up your PCs and getting updated all around to Windows 10. I think you’ll find it well worth the effort.

Finally, when you’ve taken advantage of everything you can accomplish at Staples, you’ll find that you’ve saved yourself some time that you would have spent running around town. Take that time and use it to relax and enjoy this special season.

For more tips, join me for the Staples #MakeMoreHappen TweetChat on Tuesday, November 10 at 8 PM ET. Giveaways and small business holiday advice from Staples Small Business Holiday Board.