Small Business Tip #3 – Plan your Promotion

Small business christmas promotion

When you do something well, you want to do it again and again and again. This holiday season, draw on your most successful past holiday promotions for inspiration. Sometimes the wackiest ideas — like hosting a silly photo contest online or having an open house at the business with a carnival theme — are worth repeating.

Bring it Back

Start by pulling stats from those successful campaigns. What was the budget? How many people participated? What was the top selling product based on the promotion? How many new customers were added to the database after the event?

Once you determine which elements were winners, incorporate them into this year’s holiday promotion. If the campaign includes a physical gathering of potential customers, greet them with professionally printed holiday programs. This looks more festive than handing out business cards — and still puts all your company details in their grasp.

Is This your First Holiday Promotion?

If you didn’t participate in a holiday promotion last year and don’t have anything to pull from, don’t worry. Some inexpensive promotions include:

  • Social Media Contests
  • Good Deeds or Charitable Donations
  • Black Friday Sale
  • Buy One Get One Free Offers
  • Community Dinner or Night Out
  • Mailers with coupons or exclusive offers

week3-onThis week at Paper Direct, you can get 25% off holiday programs by entering code WCRT1014B at checkout. Enjoy!

 View our entire small business guide for Christmas promotions!

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Christmas Recognition Tip #3 – Spread the Word

Holiday Border Paper

You’ve made a list of employees who deserve to be recognized. A celebratory cake is on order. Now you need to tell everyone about the big event. Whether the employee recognition ceremony is part of the annual company holiday party, or a separate event, get the staff excited about the occasion.

Design a simple, festive announcement on holiday border paper that can be posted around the office.

Here’s a few places to hang the colorful announcement:

  • Meeting rooms
  • Staff lounge and break areas
  • Restroom doors
  • Company cafeteria, daycare or exercise room
  • In elevators and on staircase doors

If you don’t have any holiday stationary on hand, Paper Direct has several styles to choose from. If this recognition ceremony will be an even bigger ordeal, consider sending holiday invitations to each employee’s house. This will create buzz surrounding the event and really get people excited to attend.

week3-onAs a bonus, this week we’re offering 25% off holiday programs products. Use code WCRT1014B when you checkout to get the savings.

Then view the entire recognition planning guide here.


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Christmas Party Planning Tip #3 – Reserve The Venue

Country Club Venue

You’re not the only one in town planning an amazing Christmas party. It’s time to finalize your party venue location and put down a deposit before someone steals your favorite location. But before signing any contracts, use your savvy business skills to negotiate the best deal possible.

Here’s a few questions to ask the venue’s event coordinator:

  1. Are appetizers for a cocktail hour included if the high-end catered meal is chosen?

  2. Does the venue have a house band that can play during dinner in lieu of hiring an outside band?

  3. If we pay to have a cash bar set up just for our guests in the party room, is it possible to upgrade the liquor choices at no additional cost?

  4. If we serve a full meal, in lieu of appetizers-only, can you include a complimentary dessert?

By asking for a package deal, or a combination of services and goods, you’re more likely to get a discount on one or more items you need!

Now that the venue is locked in, start designing your holiday programs. Include the name of the venue, party date, break down of the festivities by time (cocktail hour, dinner, dancing, etc.) and brainstorm a list of people to thank for making the party possible.

week3-onReady to get started? Paper Direct is offering 25% off holiday program printing this week.

Use code WCRT1014B at checkout to get this special offer.

Looking for more Christmas party planning tips? View our entire guide. 


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Thanksgiving Table Setting Guide [Graphic]

While there are many ways to set a table for Thanksgiving, we believe there should be a nice balance between elegantly formal and excessive utensils. Below is a Thanksgiving table setting graphic to help guide you this Thanksgiving:

How to Set a Table for Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving Table Setting

As you can see in the above graphic, you’ll need a few things for a proper Thanksgiving including:


  • Serving Plate
  • Salad Plate
  • Bread Plate


  • Wine Glass (you can have more than one wine glass if you are serving both red & white)
  • Water Glass
  • Coffee Cup and Saucer (not shown)


  • Dinner fork
  • Salad Fork
  • Cake Fork
  • Soup Spoon
  • Teaspoon
  • Dessert Spoon
  • Dinner Knife
  • Bread Knife


Things to keep in mind:

1. Formal table settings take up room. If you have a small table, you may want to place the napkin on top of the salad plate or even beautifully bundle your flatware in a Thanksgiving-themed holder.

2. While you may think your guests will surely eat their pumpkin cheesecake with a fork, others may want to use a spoon. Try not to ax any of the flatware for this reason.

3. You can use a variety of stemware for beverages. These includes wine glasses, water glasses, flutes for champagne, or even mason jars for a playful feel.

4. If you’re interested in giving your guests something to take home, consider writing a heartfelt “Why i’m thankful for you” on the back of their place cards. This will give them a treasure they can keep until next year.

5. We didn’t picture a cup and saucer, though most formal settings include one. Towards the end of the meal when other plates and cutlery have been cleared, set a cup and saucer directly in front of your guests. This way they can enjoy coffee or tea with or after their dessert.

PaperDirect wishes all a wonderful and warm Thanksgiving. We hope this table setting guides you to creating a lovely dinner to share stories, while making new traditions.

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Small Business Tip #2 – Competitive Analysis

Small Business Tip 2

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when you’re a small business. Look to what both you and your competitors did last holiday season to drive sales when planning this year’s holiday promotion.

Ask yourself:

  • What worked well for your company?
  • What worked well for the competition?
  • What mistakes were made?

Take time to analyze the successes or failures from the past to determine what approach you should take this year. One way to get additional insight from both your customers and those of the competition is to send out a simple holiday postcard asking for feedback. Or direct recipients to a website with a 30-second survey and the chance to win a small prize.

week2-onPaper Direct can help you get started! This week enjoy 20% off holiday postcards. Enter code WCRT1014B at checkout to get this special discount.

See our entire guide on small business ideas for Christmas here. 

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Christmas Recognition Tip #2 – Plan the Party

Christmas recognition tip #2

Nothing screams gratitude like treating your colleagues to an end-of-year party. Start planning the festive gathering now to make it the talk of the office all January-long.

Here’s a few planning ideas to get you started:

Will the party have a theme?

Maybe it can tie in with a company slogan or the biggest project tackled during the year? If not, winter wonderland is always a great, festive option.

Where should the party be held?

Get away from the office and try something eclectic like an art museum, roller skating rink or indoor botanical garden.

What type of food should be served?

Consider a tapas-style dining experience or having live-cooking demonstrations to mix things up! If you’re on a tight budget, have a potluck where the “favorite” dish receives a gift card.

When will the party take place?

Plan for a Saturday afternoon if children and spouses of employees are also invited. Be careful not to plan too close to Christmas- people may be traveling for the holiday.

Once you have the party plans figured out, send save-the-date postcards to everyone in the company!

week2-onThis week at Paper Direct, get 20% off holiday postcards that work perfectly for this project! Simply enter code WCRT1014B at checkout to get the discount.

View our entire Christmas employee recognition guide here.


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Christmas Party Planning Tip #2 – Brainstorm

Christmas Party Planning Tip #2

You have a budget in place. Your dream of having an amazing Christmas party is real. Now you need to find a place to host the event. Think through your list of friends and colleagues. Do any of them have connections at a local venue? Is there a location in your city that makes you smile each time you visit? Write them down.

While brainstorming potential party locations, you’ll need to keep a few logistical considerations in mind.

Keep in Mind:

  • What will the weather be like in December? Will I be able to use an outdoor venue?
  • Is the location easy for out-of-town guests to find?
  • Does the venue have services I may need, such as catering or a DJ?
  • What is the maximum occupancy at the venue?

Once you have the Christmas party location set, send festive Save the Date postcards to everyone on the guest list.

week2-onThis week, Paper Direct is offering 20% off all holiday postcards. Simply enter code WCRT1014B at checkout to get this great deal.

For more great tips, be sure to check out our entire guide on Christmas party planning.


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5 Photos you HAVE to Include in Your Wedding Slideshow

Wedding slideshows are the perfect thing to place between cocktail hour and dinner. Its a moment of relaxation and enjoyment where everyone can sit back and be entertained. While the basics of a wedding slideshow are pretty straightforward, if you want to successful slideshow that you can keep for years afterwards, there are some photos you MUST include. These wonderful pixels include:

Embarrassing Kid Photos

Middle School PhotoThis one is a must, and we’re not talking about cute toddlers in diapers, but truly embarrassing middle school photos that showcase your “transformation era.”

This will give your audience a real hoot and show how far you’ve come!


The Family Members that Got you There

Include some thoughtful photos of mom and bride, brother and groom, kids from previous relationships and even grandma! These close family members support you and your new marriage, so be sure to have some touching photos of them. This will remind you and them how far you’ve come.

Engagement Photos

Whether you choose to grab a professional engagement photo or an iPhone image taken immediately after the big question, include this type of photo in your slideshow.


It showcases that special time in your families life and brings back fond memories before your wedding journey began.


candid This may be easy for some couples and difficult for others. The truth is that candid photos can be just as heartwarming and lovely as staged, professional photos.

If you’re finding that all of your slideshow photos are hand-on-hip type of photos, go out and get goofy!

Including these candid photos will show the connection between bride and groom in ways that staged photos cannot.


hobby photo If the bride and groom both love to travel, include some destination photos. If you both love cooking, show some action-in-kitchen photos. Including these hobbies further shows the love and bond you share and can be a great talking point for your distant relatives you haven’t seen in a while.

Okay, are there any slideshow photos we’re missing? Please comment below and tell us the best slideshow photo you’ve ever seen!

Looking for wedding invitations and paper products? Shop PaperDirect for DIY weddings!

[Photo via]

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Christmas Recognition Tip #1 – Why Recognition?

Employee Recognition Tip #1

Does your company host a holiday gathering at the end of each year? If you just answered “no,” you may want to reconsider.

 Why Employee Recognition?

By giving a public shout out to key team members, you motivate the entire staff to strive for greatness in the coming year. It does a number of positive things for your organization including:

  • Encourages hard work
  • Increases employee satisfaction
  • Shows that upper management notices hard work
  • Marks Milestones
  • Inspires employees
  • Gives employees a good idea of what to shoot for
  • Spreads warm fuzzies

Before calling out specific employees, thank the entire team for their dedication and hard work throughout the entire year. If profits or the client base has increased, remind the staff that it took the whole team to achieve those numbers.

Then spoil everyone with small tokens of appreciation such as hand written thank you notes with gift cards tucked inside.

coupon codeThis week take 20% off any $30 order from Paper Direct, PLUS get a $10 coupon to use the next time you place an order of $30 or more.

Use this code: WCRT1014 to save now!


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Small Business Tip #1 – Brainstorm Christmas & Holidays

Small Business Tip #1

Big or small, every business should get in on the holiday spirit. Has your company thought of a holiday promotion yet? These seasonal offers and contests are great ways to entice new customers to try your product or service, and to bring past customers back to your front door.

Not sure what type of promotion to host? Here’s a few ideas to discuss at the next business meeting.

Arrange a Holiday Giveaway

Ask visitors on your website to fill out a short entry form to win a weekend getaway or big screen television. Then add those names to your marketing list to keep them in the loop on future sales and discounts.

Have a Photo Contest

People love posting photos on social media. For example, have a decorated Christmas house contest. Ask people to upload pictures of their decked-out homes to the company social media pages. The number of likes, comments and shares will surely boost your social engagement and reach as people vote for their favorite houses!

Host a Holiday Open House

Free cookies and punch? People will be there! While potential customers browse your sales floor and munch on snacks, offer them informational brochures and interactive “hand-on” situations to try your products.

This post is in a complete series meant to help small businesses plan their holiday promotions. See our entire guide here.

coupon codeGet started on those promotional paper materials today! Get 20% off any $30 order from Paper Direct this week. As a bonus, you’ll get a $10 off coupon to use on your next order of $30 or more. Use code WCRT1014 at checkout to get this special limited-time offer!


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