When you work in a large company, the office Christmas party is a huge event to look forward to. All of the talk is about who will be going, who’s eating what, and what will happen after the meal. But when you are a sole trader, some of that excitement is lost in the fact that you work alone. So how do you bring it back and organise your own Christmas party? Follow our tips to rekindle that festive spirit.
Identify your guests
First of all, it’s important to decide who to bring to your Christmas party. A partner, family member, or close friend may come with you as your own plus one, but who else can you invite? It may be appropriate for you to invite clients if you work closely with them on an individual basis. You could also invite your professional contacts, or in other words people that you work with who have their own companies. If you are in a shared or managed office space, think about rounding up all of your neighbours to party together. Finally, if you are a member of a professional group supporting your industry, you can invite those who work in the same field as you. It’s recommended that you choose one of the above, not all. The last thing you want is to invite both your customers and your rivals, and have them poaching business from you!
When you have decided who you want at your Christmas party, it’s time to start gauging interest. This should be done in at least November, if not before. You want to get an idea of who would come to a party if you organised one. At this stage, you can also discuss ideas about where you want to go, unless you already have something in mind. Get a rough idea of the numbers, but bear in mind that it’s usually best to round them down in your estimate. Some people will have date clashes, others might only be saying yes in theory to humour you, and others will be no-shows on the night. If you think you have enough potential guests to make a booking, do so as soon as possible.
Round up invites
Now make your invites official! You can start to gather RSVPs and see who is definitely going to be there at this stage. Hopefully you will have the right amount that you expected, so the party will go off without a hitch. It’s easiest as a sole trader to go to a pre-arranged Christmas meal with entertainment put on by the restaurant, as this takes a lot of weight off your shoulders. For most people, the event is all about being together and networking, rather than exactly what they eat or see. You don’t have to put together a bespoke night for them – they most likely won’t be able to tell the difference from a package deal anyway, and you need to have fun too. Just be sure to book in advance if you want to try a popular location which is known for great parties.
Finally, you have to decide how you can really make it special and relevant to your business. You want people to keep you as their first choice, after all! If you are inviting clients, you could hand out Christmas cards with discount codes on the night. If you are inviting business customers, you can offer free samples for their workplace or something similar that they can take back to share with the rest of their company. If you are going to be with fellow industry traders or businesspeople from your surrounding offices, you can always arrange something like a Secret Santa so that there is something to unwrap on the night. Keep it fun and remember that this is still a business event – so be as professional as you would normally, just with a bit of extra playfulness on top!
You can still have a great Christmas party as a sole trader without having an office full of people to join you. Follow our guide and you’ll be laughing in December!