Through some top-secret contacts, I was able to snag a rare chat with St. Nicholas himself, good ‘ol, Kris Kringle, yes, Santa Claus!
Strauss: Santa, I know it’s your busy time of year so thanks so much for being with us today. How’s business?
Santa: Well, thank you very much, Steve! How’s business? Business is booming, I tell you, booming! You know, every year I make sure to make a list and check it twice. I want to find out who’s been naughty, and who’s been nice. I am happy to report that there have been a great many nice boys and girls.
Strauss: So, what’s your secret Santa? How did you get to be so popular?
Santa: You know Steve, I am a big believer in the motto, “Ask them what they want, then give them what they want.” That’s as true in my business as it is in yours, or that of your readers. I really listen to those little boys and girls, and then I make sure to deliver.
And by the way, I don’t just “deliver,” but I deliver on time. And that’s another thing. If you want success like mine, keep your promises to your customers. For me, I have a hard and fast December 25th deadline, and believe you me, that gets a bit exhausting. But I deliver!
Strauss: How do you do that all on your own?
Santa: Are you crazy Steve? That’s one of my secrets too – you need a great team around you. I have Mrs. Claus, and the elves, and my reindeer, and lots of loving moms and dads helping me to make Christmas a special day.
Let’s underscore that last point, dear Steve. You must share the limelight if you want to succeed in your endeavor, whether that’s bringing presents around the world or selling to folks in your neighborhood. Do I care if some of the kids think that it’s really their parents who deliver their Christmas toys? No, ho ho! We’re all in it together, Steve. Get a clue!
Strauss: Thanks, Santa, I will try. Any other management tips?
Santa: Well my boy, I think it’s a pretty darned good idea to trust your staff. They are more capable than you know. Take Rudolph for instance. Everyone always made such fun of that poor kid, but look what happened when I gave him a chance. That nose of his turned out to be a bonus. Lemons into lemonade Steve, that’s what I always say, lemons into lemonade! Ho, ho, ho!
Strauss: Santa, how is it that everyone came to know about you anyway? As recently as the 1800s, few people had ever heard of you.
Santa: Well, that just goes to show the power of marketing and branding, dear Steve, don’t you think? Do you ever see me without my red suit on? Of course not! People get a good feeling when they see me in that suit. That suit is my brand. I use it consistently to get my message of good cheer out to everyone.
And, if you haven’t noticed, I also have a great tagline – “Ho, ho, ho! Merrrry Christmas” I never fail to use that line. That’s a good idea for your readers too, Steve. Having a tagline gets your brand across in an instant, in fact, faster than you can say ‘Ho, ho, ho!”
Strauss: Thanks for your time today Santa. Any last words?
Santa: Well, I would like to steal a line from my friend Tiny Tim: “God bless us, every one.”
Originally published in USA Today; reprinted with permission of the author.
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success.© Steven D. Strauss
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