SelfInformed

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SelfInformed - December 2021

In this issue, read about 8 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays as a Small Business Owner, a Holiday message from the NASE staff and an end of the year update from Capitol Hill.

8 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays as a Small Business Owner

The Holidays have looked a little different this year and last year, but with the help of mitigation tools like masks and social distancing and the wide availability of COVID-19 vaccines, things are looking brighter on the horizon. We all remain cautious and put our families, friends, and communities’ safety first, but as the weather cools and the vaccine numbers grow, so does our ability to return to a semblance of normal.

This is perhaps the best news for the small business owner. Small business owners struggled disproportionately during this COVID-19 pandemic. The experts at NASE know the struggles faced by small business owners and can help small businesses slowly transition into the post-pandemic small business world.

The holiday season provides a unique opportunity to celebrate and enjoy your small business while still promoting your product and image. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your holiday:

1. Decorate Your Social Media
The virtual work has been the survival game for small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The holidays and winter go hand in hand, so adjusting the colors of your social media with reds, greens and blues can bring refreshing, eye-catching imagery to your site. Post pictures, memes, or art relevant to the holiday and bring lighthearted images to your audience.

People associate color with emotion. Adding color to your holiday theme connects with your market audience on an emotional level.

2. Run Paid Ads
Social media advertising does benefit from paid advertising. Specifically, targeted advertising on social media platforms is a worthwhile investment. When creating your social media ads, incorporate the emotional connections of color psychology with your brand and image to reach the market audience relevant to your product and brand. If you have a small business that sells beach apparel, it is not necessarily the best time of year or market to address viewers in cold, landlocked areas.

Your paid advertising can direct people to your online store if you have one or online promotion for your restaurant or other brick-and-mortar establishments. If your business is a physical establishment, then target marketing can be used to advertise to just those people who are within a reasonable driving distance of your business.

3. Decorate Your Business
If you have a physical office, store, or restaurant location, do not overlook the importance of holiday decorating. After spending time in isolation, this holiday season is one to celebrate. The ever-increasing safety expected from the vaccines means people are venturing back to the restaurants, spas, and shops they love. Bring back in-person clientele by sharing this celebration through decorations.

The return to normal will be slow, so be sure to reach out to your clientele with social media or email information on the status of your business, and maybe with some included photos of your beautifully decorated establishment.

4. Run a Holiday or Winter Promotion
Since you are reaching out to people to show off your beautiful online or in-person decorations, a winter or Holiday-themed promotion would be an efficient use of time and marketing funds. Winter means different things to different people. For some, winter means lights and yard work. Other people see winter as a time for outdoor activities such as skiing, sledding or other winter sports. There are many themes that come with the season.

The holidays provide opportunities for cute marketing ideas as well. Winter and the holiday both reflect images of birth and renewal. These themes are relevant this year as the entire world seeks out a renewal and rebirth from our year at home.

5. Target Stimulus or Tax Return
Tax season might be a little different this year. People who might otherwise not have seen a large tax return may have received stimulus payments for themselves or their children. Others will see both stimulus payments and tax returns.

With additional lump sums in their pockets, now is a prime opportunity to solicit customers with alluring deals. Encourage the purchase of gift cards to be used in the future with gift card promotions. This will keep foot traffic to your business and boost your current sales. Gift cards are a great promotional idea right now as we are still in the early stages of reopening.

6. Offer Holiday Baskets
The Holiday basket could be a product you offer, or it could be a gift you offer your clients and customers. Holiday baskets can be adaptable. Perhaps it is a coloring book and crayons provided with a meal at your restaurant, maybe it is a small sample of face cream at your spa, or maybe it is something a little more personal.

Offering indoor gardening baskets may be another marketing opportunity. Whether it includes pots or trowels that are merchandise themed or just a tiny gift of seeds to a loyal customer, growing a plant requires frequent attention. This provides an opportunity to share the joys of the season while also providing a marketable reminder of your own growing business.

7. Offer Family Fun Boxes
A new year marks the beginning of growth and renewal, which means that many families remain at home. If you cannot invite your customers in for in-person craft projects, concerts, or other more traditional promotional ideas, consider putting together Holiday-themed or winter-themed family boxes for people to enjoy at home.

Some restaurants started selling family meals for people to take home and cook. Offering a holiday promotion on a family meal is another opportunity to have fun with this season.

8. Consider a Donation
While this might sound counterintuitive to the idea of making money, a donation is a way to enjoy the holiday. The community and customers support the small business. In return, the small business supports the community. Many small businesses support the community in the business-need that they fulfill. Still, if you are fortunate enough to be financially capable of giving to a local charity or local family in need, this is good for you and your business.

Be sure to let the local media report any donations and be open about the charity of your choice. If a local family lost everything in a fire, donate to the cost of repairs or replacing items. Local boy scouts, girl scouts, and 4-H clubs are also worthy charity investments. Some communities need help supporting shelters or food pantries. Supporting the community helps keep your community healthy, helping keep the environment where you do business healthy. Giving back helps you feel good, makes a positive impact by your company on your community, and keeps customers returning to a business they know they can trust and support.

To learn more about enjoying and celebrating the holidays with your small business, contact customer service at the NASE, (800) 649-6273. Our experts will be happy to answer any questions you have.


December Government Affairs Update

Earlier this month our country lost a statesman, war hero — former United States Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS) at the age of 98. Senator Dole was one of the greatest in the Greatest Generation of World War II veterans who have long inspired our country with their dignity, determination and courage.

During his years in office, Senator Dole was instrumental in authoring and working across the aisle with the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and was adept at working in a bipartisan way on pragmatic pieces of legislation to support veterans, seniors and creating greater opportunity to achieve the American Dream for all of our country’s citizens.

Our support and prayers go to his wife, former Senator Elizabeth Dole, his family and all of his colleagues who worked and served beside him.

As the end of the year quickly approaches, the U.S. Congress is working to finalize major pieces of legislation and Congressional actions. They not only involve part of the Administration’s agenda, but also key operational activities of our nation.

Government Shutdown
At the beginning of this month, the U.S. Congress agreed to short-term stopgap measure averting a government shutdown. The bipartisan agreement funds the government through February 18th of 2022. The U.S. Senate voted to approve the extension on a bipartisan vote and the House quickly followed suit and passed it with a slim bipartisan vote.

The president has signed the measure into law.

The U.S. Congress must again vote to continue funding the government once this runs out in February of 2022.

To learn more about this process, please visit here.

Administration Announces Reforms to Increase in Federal Contracting Equity
On December 2nd, the Biden Administration announced the enactment of Small Business Administration (SBA) supported reforms to federal contracting regulations for qualified minority-owned business. Among other items in the reforms, the Administration has directed federal agencies to “increase their goals so that government-wide spending results in 11 percent of contracting dollars being awarded to small, disadvantaged businesses, up from the current statutory goal of 5 percent.”

SBA Administrator Guzman said in a statement that the new reforms will “help boost access to $560 billion in contracting opportunities for disadvantaged small businesses.” Administrator Guzman went on to say, “Today’s historic release of federal contracting data disaggregated by race, ethnicity, and geography, and our corresponding reforms to federal strategic sourcing strategies known as ‘category management,’ will help guarantee greater transparency and accountability in federal contracting and put more small businesses in a position to start doing business with the United States government.”

You can read the Fact Sheet from the White House detailing the new reforms, here.

The Debt Ceiling Limit
In November, Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellin, warned Congress they needed to raise the U.S. debt limit by December 15th. The debt limit is the total amount of money the U.S. is allowed to borrow to pay its bills and meet its financial obligations. It represents payments on the money the U.S. has already spent — it does not authorize new spending.

If the debt limit is not raised, our nation will default on the current borrowing it has engaged in to pay for its spending. The Senate continues to work towards an agreement intended to avoid a default on America’s loans.

To learn more about this debate, visit here (NYT subscription required).

National Defense Authorization Act
The U.S. Congress is also expected to take up the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) before the end of the year. Both the U.S. Senate and the House are negotiating a compromise agreement for its bill that sets the annual policy for the military.

This year’s bill is set to authorize $770 billion in military spending, including priorities such as pay increases for military personnel to spending on new war ships and aircraft and other targeted priorities.

To read more about this policy, visit here.

Build Back Better Legislation
As reported in the last Washington Watch, the House has approved its version of the Build Back Better social spending package. However, the Senate has not yet acted as they are still negotiating internally on its version and spending priorities. They expect to vote on the legislation by the end of the year.

Once it is approved, the House and Senate will once again vote to reconcile the two versions before sending it to the president.

To learn about the bill’s progress, visit here.


Courtesy of NASE.org
https://www.nase.org/about-us/nase-publications/selfinformed