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4 ways to beat the Christmas slowdown

If you run a business in hospitality or retail, it gets pretty crazy at this time of the year. But for many businesses, things are starting to slow down. Here are four useful things you can do to keep your business ticking over in the meantime.

1. Keep in touch with your customers

It’s not too late to send online Christmas cards and send festive greetings to your customers and clients. It’s a great excuse to touch base with them.

Some enterprising businesses use their Christmas cards to announce a new year promotion, which then brings in business for the beginning of January, while others send Christmas cards from charities such as Oxfam to spread some goodwill (and boost their image).

While physical cards are on the decline, (card sales in the US have dropped by more than 40 percent since 1995), e-cards are a much more popular alternative.

Vicky Austin, owner of Kennedy Austin Executive Search agency, sends Christmas cards to her clients every year. She uses this time to go through her databases and update client information as she compiles her Christmas card list.

There is a plethora of websites you can visit to create Christmas cards for your business.

We recommend Monk-e-Mail, which allows you to create your own talking animated monkey to send greetings to your recipients.

2. Do a New Year’s office clean-up

Once Christmas arrives, it’s often difficult to do business outside your own company before the second week of January because so many key decision makers are on leave.

Austin uses the post-Christmas hiatus to get through administrative tasks like cleaning up databases, shredding expired documents and getting ready for the coming year.

“When you’re busy, a lot of these sorts of tasks get put aside,” she told Smarter Business Ideas. “For me it, makes more sense to have a ‘New Year clean’ rather than a ‘spring clean’.”

3. Develop a new product or service

With everyday work stresses reduced, this quieter period can be a good time to develop new products and services for your business.

According to the Sensis Business Index, 42% of small businesses planned to introduce new products and services in the 2011/12 financial year.

Business owners who make the most of the seasonal slow time will be well-placed to rev up their activity early in the year, while their competitors make their way back slowly from the post-Christmas siesta.

4. Boost your online presence

One of the major goals for around 38% of small businesses next year is to increase their digital presence, revealed the Sensis Business Index.

So if you’re yet to get your head around Twitter or Facebook or you’re thinking about revamping your website, the Christmas lull is a great time to consider new digital strategies for your business and boost its online presence.

SEE ALSOChristmas shopping: Is your business on your customers' list?

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