While the holidays can be fun and magical and wonderful…it can also be a super stressful time of year. Here are 10 Holiday Survive and Thrive Tips for Biz Owners. The intention: Less hassle, more joy, more money!

  1. Throw a Sober Company Party. I know, I know. Sometimes a drink can make a holiday party bearable. Alas, the reality is that too many people are struggling with addiction. And, it is just too dangerous to risk any team member drinking and driving. Instead, throw a family friendly party. Have Santa show up. Plan a scavenger hunt or karaoke at the shop, or in the warehouse. Start the party at 3 or 4 in the afternoon. It’s nice to spend time with little kids during the holidays. Invite them! Your employees don’t have to make baby sitter arrangements either. Give a modest mall gift card to all team members as a small gesture of your appreciation with the money you saved on booze.
  2. Don’t Send Holiday Cards. If you have already, great. If you haven’t, skip it. We get so many at this time of year that yours will probably get lost in the mail shuffle. Instead send an e-card with a fun picture of you and your team from the Company Party. (See Tip #1.)
  3. Make One Contribution. Consider making just one contribution to a worthy cause. You could even brag on that organization in the PS of your e-card. (See Tip #2.) However, if that is looking like yet another thing to do…just don’t. There will be plenty of opportunities to give this season. Salvation Army representatives are ringing bells right now, at shopping mall entrances. Make one bell ringer’s pot extra sweet. Whatever you choose to contribute, let yourself embrace the joy of giving without the guilt of not giving enough.
  4. Go for a Walk. Every day. Bundle up if it is cold. Just get yourself outside. Enjoy the solitude. Breathe deep and relax as you walk around the block or the park. Go every day even if you are super busy. Life does go on without you. You’ll reduce stress, burn calories, increase oxygen and release endorphins. You’ll sleep better, too. If walking were a drug, doctors would prescribe it for everyone!
  5. Raise your Prices. I was just visiting with a client who had done a bang-up job with her accounting system. She knows where every penny has gone over the last 15 years. She wanted to know what else she could cut that would help her and her family make more money in their plumbing business. What an exhausting thought! Instead, I recommended a price increase. I suggested she double her prices. Yep. Show up clean, sober, on-time and dressed right and you can charge twice what the competition charges. Add to that a basic understanding of your craft, and you can charge three times what others charge. Your customers are less price sensitive than you are. It’s easy to make more money when you realize the value of what you do. Plumbers? They keep people from dying of cholera and other diseases…every day they prevent more diseases than doctors could possibly cure. What do YOU do that is valuable? Lay claim to it and raise your prices! Money buys options. Next year, you may choose to give even more. (See Tips #1 and #3.)
  6. Count your Blessings. As you wake up and your feet hit the ground, find 5 things to be grateful for. Say, “Thank you,” out loud , for each one, as you march to the bathroom. Let the words, “Thank you,” be your first words every day. This tip is a life changer.
  7. Take a Stroller. The mall is a great place to get all your shopping done at a quick clip. Take a stroller with you…even if you don’t have a little kid. Load up the purchases without straining your back, shoulders and hands. And, when you are wondering if you have forgotten anyone, just say, “No.” You don’t have to buy something for everyone. You can always… (See Tip #8)
  8. Re-Gift. Think of it as recycling! Just be careful to check for and remove gift tags and other evidence of the previous gift-er.
  9. Schedule a Biz Planning Retreat. Perhaps at some point this season you will reflect on this past year. You may wish you had more in sales, profits and cash. You may wonder why you didn’t start that new division or second location. You might feel the sting of too little reward for too much effort. Fair enough. Don’t dwell on it. Do set up a weekend (a day?) when you will put a simple, solid Biz Plan together for 2013. Get the appointment on the calendar right now. Then, every time you think of something that pertains to your Biz Plan, just jot a note in the appointment. Plan to plan. This is a huge stress reducer…and can help you pivot from despair to hope. New thoughts and new actions can produce better, more profitable, results. You have the right – the responsibility – to prioritize what YOU want. Carve the date on your calendar for sometime in January. Hey, you are probably going to be free on 1.1.2013. That’s a great day to plan to Biz Plan!
  10. Don’t Bite. Nerves are frayed. Family members are spending waaaaay too much time together. Someone is bound to say something that will trigger your worst behavior. Stop. Count to 10. And let it go. Wayne Dyer says, “You can be right. Or you can be kind.” It doesn’t matter who is right. Really. What difference does it make if the Jets scored 18 points or 24 points against the Lions in 1985? Who cares if it was Aunt Loretta or Cousin Sue who streaked the PTA meeting when you were in 6th grade? Smile. Don’t bite. Don’t respond. If you have to, remove yourself until you can relax a bit…(See Tip #4.)

On December 11 at 5:00 PM CT, My pal Nancy Michaels – Master Marketer and owner of Grow Your Business Network, Inc. – has more survival tips to share. She knows what it takes to turn around a tough situation. The mom of 3 young kids, she bounced back from a year long illness…recovered from a liver transplant!…and built a world class business. We’ll be chatting it up in our FREE GooglePlus Hangout. Join us.