Dear Professor Bruce:
I own a small printing company, and for 10 years we have given a fabulous holiday party. Sales are down this year, but we still want to entertain, thank our clients and network for new business. How can we give a reasonable party and still get our brand out there? Our yearly party is something everyone has looked forward to in the past. We’re concerned that if we don’t do it this year, people will think we are not doing well or we don’t appreciate their business.
Since you have entertained yearly and created such a special tradition at your company with this holiday party, I don’t recommend canceling the party this year. There are many ways to adjust the budget and give holiday parties and corporate events that keep your brand alive and well.
Tony Conway, Founder of A Legendary Event, has some good advice:
— Give a party that makes a difference. You can do an event on a smaller scale at your company. Change your party focus to giving to a worthwhile cause and keep it simple. Perhaps a customer or community member has been touched by illness or some other hardship. Ask everyone to bring a book for a children’s hospital, cans for a hunger drive or something else purposeful. Serve “just desserts” this year to sweeten the lives of others.
— Think quality vs. quantity. Review and scale down your guest list and focus on quality. There are probably many people on the list who have not referred to your business or people who should no longer be on the list. Reducing the numbers can help you better budget any event.
— Make it memorable. Add a theme to your party. Since you’re a printer, incorporate your overruns. Decorate the tables with all the printing samples you’ve done and celebrate your 10 years of printing. Proudly display your work and focus on what you’ve done for clients in a creative way. From table cards to table toppers, centerpieces and more, your printing pieces should be integrated into your decor. It will save money and promote what you do.
— Be creative. Instead of throwing a cocktail party this year, think about an afternoon picnic or something more casual. Picnics are popular and can even be indoors and are value-driven. We’re seeing parties that used to be sit-down dinners instead be light fare and appetizers. You don’t have to serve a feast. Your guests will feast their eyes on whatever you do, but keep your legend alive and party on!
Author/Byline: BRUCE FREEMAN , Scripps Howard News Service
(Bruce Freeman, The Small Business Professor, is president of ProLine Communications, a marketing and public relations firm in Livingston, N.J., and author of “Birthing the Elephant” (Ten Speed Press). E-mail questions to Bruce(at)SmallBusinessProf.com.)
Copyright (c) 2010 Scripps Howard News Service
Bruce Freeman, The Small Business Professor®http://firstname.lastname@example.org