Holiday work tips for your business

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Dave Ray.

Showing thanks to your clients

It’s that holiday time of year again, a time for “Thank You” cards and gifts. So, how can you show your appreciation to your clients in a way that reflects sincerity and helps them remember you in 2020.

There are 3 things to consider: budget, personalization, usefulness.

If you’re a big business, consider throwing an actual hosted holiday get-together. Pull out all the stops within your budget and allow spouses and families to attend. Make it fun and special to your industry or nationality.

Have a particularly interesting main course or guest entertainment. Make sure the kids have an especially good time.

If you’re a smaller company or one with a limited budget, you can still make a memorable impression. Send hand-written holiday cards mentioning something specific about that business’s account.

Remember that there are business owners of many faiths and nationalities in East County, so pay attention.

Alternately, send a little gift card or a small personalized gift basket. Think up something that the business owner or office manager would actually enjoy receiving. Include your business card, preferably as a refrigerator magnet or yearly calendar so that it remains visible all year.

It doesn’t really matter what you do. The point is to do something. That way, your clients will know with a tangible sign that you do, in fact, appreciate their business. So get planning on it now and have them ready to go before the rush such as the first week of December.

How business owners can stay sane over the holidays

The last few weeks of the year always create havoc with business people’s emotions. You want to spend time with family, but you also want to squeeze in those last few, big sales for the year. This can cause anxiety and maybe even some feelings of guilt. Here is one suggestion.

Give yourself permission to give up something this year without guilt.

If you really want to attend a few family functions, then do it knowing you have made a choice and will need to reschedule some sales and marketing activity.  By doing that, the emotional strokes of being with friends and family allow you to relax and enjoy the moment more fully.

On the other hand, if it’s really important to your bottom line to make those end-of-the-year sales, then that’s OK too.

Make the conscious decision about what time you will put in to your meetings and sales calls, and then make that time super productive. Once you’re done with the allocated time, it’s time to stop. Then, shift gears and enjoy the time you have set aside for social activities.

Maybe you could arrive a little late to one or two events and still get in that extra hour or two of work. But plan that out in advance so nobody is surprised. Then stick to the schedule, and make sure you enjoy yourself anxiety-free for the holidays.

This way you’ll start off 2020 with a fresh, hopeful attitude. Rather than squeezing in too much and not enjoying any of it, you’ll feel relaxed, refreshed, and energized for the new year and what lies ahead for your business.

Taxes! There, I said it!

If you’re lucky enough to be making a profit this year, you need to make your quarterly estimated tax payments on schedule to avoid IRS interest and fines.

For our Sole Proprietors out there who file business taxes under their own social security number, here are the important dates. Last quarter’s submission should have been sent in by Sept. 16. If not, it was late. Next payment due is on Jan. 15, 2020.

For corporations, there are other dates, so check with your accountant or CPA. Also, if you run a small side business but hold down a fulltime J-O-B, your employee taxes might cover what you owe for your business.

Definitely check with a good CPA in this case. Check out IRS Form 1040-ES for 2019 at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040es.pdf for full info.

Don’t be late.