TORONTO, Nov. 27 /CNW/ - Small business owners are looking for ways to
make the most of their businesses during the holiday season but are also
trying to find time to spend with friends and family, according to
Scotiabank's MyVault Business News poll conducted by Pollstream.
"Long hours are a fact of life for small business owners year-round, but
even more so during the hectic holiday season when owners are torn between
investing time in their business and spending quality time with their friends
and families," said Kyle McNamara, Head of Small Business, Scotiabank. "We
asked entrepreneurs to tell us about the biggest holiday challenges they face
and based on this feedback, we have launched the Scotiabank Holiday Guide for
Small Business to help owners prepare for the holidays and the year to come."
The poll found that thirty-three per cent of small business owners
identified attracting customers as their biggest challenge for the holidays.
An equal number identified their second biggest challenge during this time as
making time for family and friends (31 per cent). Staffing and managing
inventory round out the top four concerns on small business owners' minds.
To help with the business-related concerns and free up some additional
time for friends and family, the Scotiabank Holiday Guide for Small Business
suggests practical tips such as:
- Attract last-minute shoppers. Consider offering small discounts on
your web site to boost holiday sales, but also consider long-term
retention strategies such as enhancing your website, explore pay-per-
click advertising, and using email marketing to target new clients in
the year ahead.
- Recruit your team. Tell your friends, neighbours and business
contacts that you are looking for seasonal staff. Make it a great
place to work - happy employees tend to stay and work for a well-run
business. To attract and keep staff, make it a New Year's resolution
to review your salary, benefits and training package to ensure you
are competitive in your industry.
- Manage inventory and stay flexible. Keep some cash on hand for last-
minute orders for those hot holiday items. Get holiday stock in store
and on display as soon as possible. Prepare for boxing-day sales with
slower moving items.
"As the poll suggests, work is only half of the equation," said Mr.
McNamara. "There's no getting around the fact that life seems busier these
days, and taking steps now can help to balance work and personal schedules
over the holidays and through the New Year."
To maximize the time small business owners have away from work, the Guide
makes some additional suggestions to make the most of the time with friends
and family, including:
- Make it a date. Book time to go shopping together, have dinner or
spend some time on a local skating rink.
- Get organized. Keep a big calendar in the kitchen to book family time
- whether it's a trip to the movies, or playing a game together.
- Turn off the TV for a night. Organize family time around meals and
consider making cooking a communal activity.
- Pick a good cause. Volunteer together at a local food bank, seniors'
home, or toy drive.
- Develop a group hobby. Winter is a great time for friends or family
to discover new neighbourhoods or find the best local hot chocolate.
Scotiabank's Holiday Guide for Small Business is available through
MyVault Business News and can be easily accessed through a subscription to
MyVault - Scotiabank's free digital newsletter email service. To register for
MyVault, please go to www.myvaultbusinessnews.com.
The Scotiabank MyVault Business News poll represents the responses of
more than 500 Canadian MyVault Business News small business subscribers. The
email poll took place between October 26 and October 31, 2007.
Scotiabank is one of North America's premier financial institutions and
Canada's most international bank. With almost 60,000 employees, Scotiabank
Group and its affiliates serve approximately 12 million customers in some 50
countries around the world. Scotiabank offers a diverse range of products and
services including personal, commercial, corporate and investment banking.
With $408 billion in assets (as at July 31, 2007), Scotiabank trades on the
Toronto (BNS) and New York Exchanges (BNS). For more information please visit
For further information:
For further information: Paula Cufre, Scotiabank Public Affairs, (416)