When it comes to creating a company that others aspire to emulate, no one does it better than the jolly old man in the big red suit. That’s right, with Christmas Eve only one day away, we’re talking about the ultimate entrepreneur: Mr. Claus, himself.
First, let’s look at what makes a company successful. Here at The Newsletter Pro, we’ve been talking a lot about client retention, referrals, and company culture.
When it comes to client retention, we all know that Santa is the man. After all, for a guy who takes his roots from the 4th century, he sure is popular today! While his “clients” may ebb and flow with age, most who grew up with him as children, go on to “invest” in him once more when their own children are born. Why is that the case? Well, for many, it’s about tradition. Similar to picking out the name brands their mothers always stocked up on from the store, Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick has been around for a long time. But longevity has to come from somewhere, doesn’t it?
In my opinion, Santa’s ability to retain his “clients”–not just for years, but for generations–comes down to the inspiration he brings with him. After all, what is Santa if not a symbol of magic and joy? When I was a kid, there was nothing more enchanting than waking up on Christmas morning, running down the stairs, and finding a pile of presents that weren’t there the night before. I’d run to the hearth to find my stocking full, and to the table, where the once-full plate of cookies was always empty. I believed. When it comes to the services your own company provides, the message is the same. No matter what you do–whether you’re in the business of fixing smiles, selling roofs, getting people out of debt, or healing injured animals–your ability to retain clients can only be as effective as your ability to inspire them. If you can make them believe that what you’re doing is really in their best interest and will lead to the maximum amount of good, then you’ll be offering them a service they cannot refuse.
Of course, while Santa might have his clients for a long, long time, it’s his referrals that really keep the North Pole in business. Look at it this way: while Mr. Claus is known in countries throughout the world (thanks to the spread of Christianity), according to a study by daclarke.org, only 15% of the world has a tradition that involves the big guy (that’s about 378 million kids, with most living in the United States). But since Santa Claus is no longer a strictly-Christian tradition (plenty of non-Christian families still put up a tree and read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas), and there is still 85% of the world left to reach, his potential well of clients is nearly bottomless. Between the influx of immigrants coming to this country, desiring to fit into its holiday traditions (particularly the most popular one of all) and those kids who hear about Santa from their friends and who grow up making the decision to pass the fun on to their own kids (even if they didn’t have it themselves), Santa gets busier and busier by the year!
When it comes to gaining your own batch of referrals, it’s helpful to think of your potential clients in much the same way. There are plenty of people out there who’ve never heard of you or who have, but haven’t really come into actual contact with your business. If you have people invested in your company who believe in what you do and who can show others how much they get out of your relationship, connecting with their friends shouldn’t be too difficult.
Third is company culture. Aside from Hollywood and Middle Earth, have you ever seen an elf working anywhere other than the North Pole? Of course not! Why? Well, it certainly can’t be the phenomenal summer parties. More likely than not, it probably has something to do with those great benefits packages and Christmas bonuses. Plus, it’s easy to stay in a workplace if you love the work you’re doing and you believe in the service you’re providing. What could be more meaningful than bringing joy to children on Christmas morning? I know, I know–we can’t all work as toy makers in the North Pole, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t show your own workers the enormous benefits you are providing your clients. If you can get them behind the services you are providing or the products you are selling, chances are, your employees will be proud of their work, and that transmits to overall quality. Of course, handing out yearly bonuses and investing in stellar healthcare won’t hurt company morale, either.
All in all, there are many reasons why entrepreneurs should look up to the guy in the big red suit: his company’s fuel efficiency (nothing says “green” like a sleigh pulled by reindeer), his positive ratings on Yelp (four stars), and his excellent marketing scheme (who else could charge $15 bucks a picture in exchange for five seconds of lap time and a candy cane?) for starters.
All joking aside, just like little kids who either earn presents or coal, your company can only be successful if your intentions are good and your product is tried and true. So if you want a good Christmas (and a good year overall), it’s better to stay on the “nice” list and take a few notes from Santa.