More small business owners gave gifts this fiscal

According to a research report released by the American Express OPEN Small Business Holiday Monitor, more than of the company managers surveyed revealed that they were shipping out personalized presents to key clients as they do every year, an impressive 8 percent increase from the previous year.

A small business advisor to American Express OPEN, Alice Brendin, quipped that small businesses were apparently in a slightky better position this fiscal to give back to their own employees, and to their customers, most importantly. The owners realise the immense value of giving gifts. And as the economic conditions improve, so do their budgets for gifting. What are the key findings of the survey report?

More small businesses awarded employee bonuses this holiday season. According to the 2012 American Express, 35 percent (up from 29 percent last year) gave their staff end-of-year bonuses, with a quarter of those respondents giving larger bonuses compared to last year. On average, employees would receive a 9 percent bonus this year, the survey found. Among other findings, about 40 percent said they threw a holiday party, up from 35 percent last year, while 57 percent stated they would donate to charity this holiday season.

Despite the current economic climate, 51 percent of small-business owners gave their clients/customers gifts this holiday season, up from 43 percent last year, with the average budget for these holiday gifts up 16 percent to $958, the survey pointed out.

Small business owners who are giving holiday gifts to clients seem to have mastered an important life lesson – you get back what you give. Keeping a legacy alive means running a growth-centric business and investing wisely, not only in customers but in staff as well, the survey emphasizes. Even when spending is down, the gift of time is an easy way to thank staff without breaking the bank. And with improving customer service top of mind, it becomes that much more important to take steps to retain valued employees.

The survey was done late last year via phone to a random sample encompassing 501 small-business owners/ or company managers (all with less than 100 employees).

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