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The holidays ‘do not need to be a time of despair for SMEs’

While many look forward to the holiday break, there will be many New Zealand businesses looking forward with a sense of dread because the downturn in activity is not only painful, but it can also lead to business failure.

Assia Salikhova, the Managing Director of Wellington business development agency Smarketing Lab, suggests that businesses don’t have to give in to defeat.

“The holidays don’t have to be a freeze period for businesses,” Salikhova says. “It’s those who seize the opportunity to develop new, and rekindle existing, business relationships who stand to benefit the most because not everybody shuts down.”

Here are essential strategies to build and enhance your business during the holiday season through a form of networking that is ideal for the holiday season:

1. Refine Your Networking Strategy:

Invest in reconnecting with people you know. Year end is a perfect opportunity to be inquisitive and learn what others are up to and what their plans are. You may be able to help.

“Remember, your net worth is significantly influenced by your network. Leverage platforms like LinkedIn not just to connect but to create meaningful interactions.

“Engage with five to ten people daily, and by the end of 2024, you’ll likely see a substantial increase in your business profitability,” Salikhova says.

At times when economy is uncertain and marketing budgets are limited, investing few minutes every day in reconnecting and making new connections to grow your network is the easiest thing to do, and it is free.

2. Optimise Digital Networking:

Acknowledge that while digital tools accelerate the pace of communication, genuine networking-even digital-takes time.

“Cold messaging or calling requires patience. People need time to become accustomed to you and what you represent. A personal touch in digital networking can set you apart.”

3. Engage Authentically:

Instead of casting a wide net, focus on targeted interactions.

“Ask for introductions, engage with new connections by asking insightful questions, and share valuable content. These genuine interactions can lead to more robust business opportunities than any advertisement or cold call.”

4. Keep the Momentum Going:

Consistency is key.

“Update your LinkedIn profile, be active in conversations, and be visible. By consistently engaging with your network, you’re likely to see tangible results in a matter of weeks, not months.”

Salikhova says Kiwi business owners should not wait until the holiday season winds down to revitalise business efforts.

To support those who want to make a difference for their business in 2024, she is running a free five-day LinkedIn Challenge starting Monday 8 January, which is in time for those planning the year ahead.

For more information, see: https://linkedinprofile.smarketinglab.co.nz/43052/linkedin-business-challenge

“By starting now, businesses can hit the ground running as the new year begins, ensuring a competitive edge in the new normal of 2024.”


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