For small business owners, the holiday season can engender mixed emotions. On one hand, the months leading up to the holidays - November and December- are usually the busiest months of the year for most small businesses. And when you own a small business, being busy is a good thing. According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales could rise 4.1% this year to a whopping $616.9 billion.
While being busy is a good thing for any business, it comes with one drawback – stress. According to a recent poll from Gallup, entrepreneurs are more likely to admit to experiencing stress than other types of workers. This uptick in reported stress extends across lines of race, religion, ethnicity, income, marital status, and education. The bottom line: it doesn't matter who you are, if you're running your own company you're going to experience more stress than the average person.
And this is a year-wide thing. That stress is amplified over the holidays, when it seems like there's simply an endless amount of things on that to-do list.
How many times have you said man, if I only hand another pair of hands...?
Office Depot, Inc. is sponsoring a interesting contest that aims to help a handful of small businesses get though the stressful holiday season a bit more gracefully. It's called the Elf Who Helps, and it lets small businesses in the U.S enter to win a little bit of extra help as the end-of-the-year crunch begins.
"Holidays are a busy time for small businesses as they juggle daily tasks, prepare for the close of the year, and fit in holiday office parties and business gifting. As a small business owner, you might go the whole year and be on track, but the holiday season comes with a lot of small details that extra manpower can really help address," says Eduardo Souchon, senior director of marketing for Office Depot, Inc.
"Office Depot and OfficeMax want to give select small businesses the assistance they need during the busy holiday season. Powered by TaskRabbit, a peer-to-peer marketplace that helps local users outsource everything from household errands to skilled tasks, Elf Who Helps will give the winning small businesses the boost they need to close out the year feeling organized and ready to tackle 2015."
Small businesses can enter through November 12th. All they have to do is submit, in 150 words or fewer, why they need help this holiday season. Fourteen selected winners will receive assistance in the form of $2,000 worth of office products, a $1,000 gift card, and two days of on-site help from TaskRabbit.
"With more time and money being spent during the busy holiday season,we at Office Depot and OfficeMax want to give back and make sure these small businesses have what they need to boost their success into the new year and beyond," says Souchon.
The holidays are stressful for everyone. For small businesses, they can seem overwhelming. I think we can all agree that things would be a little bit easier if we had an elf to help.