Small Business Lessons to Learn from Santa’s Workshop
You could spend all day learning about how to prepare your company for the holidays or reading up on good and bad examples of marketing from Starbucks and Nike. However, there’s no better lesson than the ones that Santa and his workshop can teach us every year at Christmas. Even with a small team of elves, the jolly man has a few tricks up his sleeve to run one of the most successful small businesses in the world.
This Christmas, we have an easy read for you. Here are 10 lessons you and your business can learn from Santa
1. Find your passion and make a career out of it
You’ve likely heard the saying, “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life”. Santa followed this advice for his own career when he saw the opportunity to make a living out of crafting toys, and then just went for it.
It has been hundreds of years, and Santa still loves his job because he gets to bring joy to kids all over the world. If you have a side hustle that you’re truly passionate about, you might consider making it your full-time career. Yes, side hustles can become a full-time job. Here’s how to know if it’s time to make the switch.
Need inspiration? Check out our list of 100 small business ideas.
2. The importance of philanthropy
Entrepreneur has a great article on why philanthropy is good
business practice and why more companies should consider including a
philanthropic aspect in their mission.
Giving back to the community is a great way to build both teamwork within the company, but also rapport with the community and potential customers. Volunteering and philanthropy can help build a strong brand. Shoppers often want to support companies that are associated with giving back to their communities.
3. You are only as good as your team
Fortunately, Santa read this article from Potential on the importance of teamwork, and then hired only the best team for his workshop to ensure that they produce the highest-quality toys. He knows that he can rely on his elves to work together and collaborate in such a way that increases productivity in the workshop and allows them to consistently complete their work on time.
Effective communication is vital when working in a team. In fact, 99.1% employees wish to be part of a workplace that values honest communication. Additionally, effective communication can enhance employee retention by 4.5 times!
4. Listening to the customer is good business sense
Santa’s entire business runs off listening to what his customers want. Every year, kids send him letters about what gifts they would like to receive. Santa keeps this information in consideration when making his list. He tries to not only meet, but exceed, the expectations of his customers.
Rather than tell others what gifts and toys he currently has to offer, Santa listens to the customer and provides exactly what they requested.
Listening goes a long way, especially when trying to help a disgruntled customer.
5. Check your work twice
No one is perfect, so you should double check your work. There are currently about 2.2 billion children in the world. Santa makes sure that they are all on his list somewhere and that their name, address, behavioral history, and requested toy(s) are accurate and spelled correctly.
We are not sure if Santa still handwrites his list in this modern era. Maybe he uses Excel instead. Regardless, he always makes sure to check his list twice. Using spellcheck and proofreading your work before sending it off can help you avoid headaches at a later date.
6. The importance of marketing
You can thank Coca-Cola’s marketing for Santa’s iconic look that we all know and love today.
In the past, Santa’s designs were not the most consistent. It was true that some early designs had him as a portly man wearing a red suit, but during this time, there were still many different opinions on how he looked, with a few designs even depicting him as a scary elf.
Fortunately, in the 1930’s, Coca-Cola released a few Christmas-themed ads with an illustration of Santa Claus. The design became well known, and although it was not a new design of Santa, it did cement the style.
Marketing works, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Have you considered social media marketing? Let us help you get started with our social media marketing tips.
7. Quality products are everything
Have you ever heard a child complain about the workmanship quality of the rocking horse or doll house they received from Santa the previous year? Absolutely not.
Santa’s workshop is known for hand-crafting quality products for its customers, and everyone knows that they can rely on the brand.
Your workmanship and quality aren’t as well-known as Santa’s. To get the same notoriety, you’ll have
8. You must work ahead in order to meet deadlines
We have previously discussed ways to get ahead by working ahead of schedule, but Santa and the elves incorporate this lesson into everything they do. Santa knows better than to let the elves procrastinate during their year. That’s why they spend the entire year working away building toys and loading up the sleigh.
This has allowed the team to consistently deliver the toys on time before Christmas morning, without ever missing a deadline. We know that at times boredom might set in during the year. That’s why we have a few suggestions on overcoming procrastination at work.
9. It is possible to push through difficult/stressful times
Based on seasonal trends, Santa knows that the busiest time of the year for his workshop is the night before Christmas morning, when he has to travel 122 million miles to deliver 75 million gifts within 24 hours. Santa doesn’t let stress slow him down; instead, he stays calm and practices mindfulness to improve his mental and physical well-being throughout Christmas Eve night.
10. Sometimes travel is necessary
Santa would prefer to stay home and not venture out into the cold every year, or even just send out a few elves to deliver the gifts instead. Delegating work is important, and Santa is successful in this field by letting the elves manage each other throughout most of the year. Sometimes though, delegating work is not possible, and you are faced with a task that only you are able to accomplish.
Santa knows that he is the only person capable of flying the magic sleigh and delivering the gifts, so he understands that he must travel for work and be out in the field. Like Santa, sometimes there are tasks that you can handle from the comfort of your office or desk. Other times though, there are tasks that require you to travel somewhere else and work more hands-on with the project.
Prepare for the new year
Christmas is the season of family and stress. Most businesses are busy with sales and planning for the new year.
Christmas is the time for family and friends. It just happens to align with one of the last weeks before the new year. Take time to spend a few days with those you love. Then, when you’re ready, take the lessons you’ve learned from Santa, and incorporate them into your plans for the new year.
What was the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from Santa Claus and his workshop? Leave a comment!
Anna Reeve, MBA