Plan an Effective Holiday Party for Your Small Business

With the holiday season quickly approaching, many small business owners will be considering how they will celebrate this time with their employees and clients. Many employers host holiday parties to celebrate the season; however, as the end of the year is typical time to give out bonuses and pay increases, budgeting for these expenses is crucial. A holiday party can be a small and intimate affair or a grandiose event – but remember, as a business owner your end goal is to make money. Be thinking, “how can I use this to make employees more productive”, or “will key clients be more invested by attending?” Before sending out invitations, there are  three things to take into account when planning a corporate holiday party: your employees, your clients and your budget.


Decide how many employees you are going to invite; if you have a small team, this will be an easy choice. If you have a large workforce with hundreds of staff members, you will need to be certain that you can afford to invite them all. If you cannot, you will need to create a plan for selecting the team members you will invite.

Photo of happy colleagues holding champagne flutes at corporate party

You can choose the individuals who hold the most senior titles or who have been with the company the longest, or can focus on your star employees, such as your top salespeople. If you will not be able to invite the entire team, make sure the selection process is fair so that the employees who are not invited don’t feel slighted or overlooked.

Some bosses invite the employees’ spouses or entire families, depending on the type of event. Consider whether you will make this an option or not. The end goal of having employees attend the event is to reaffirm the hard work from the year, allow them to have some fun with co-workers, and encourage them for the year to come. Investing in employees attendance correlates to an investment in next years productivity.


A holiday party can be a good opportunity to network with current or prospective clients. You can utilize this event to introduce clients to staff members, or announce important company news or goals for the next year. Simply, a holiday party is a chance to impress your clients to increase their loyalty to your business.

Think about whether you want to invite your staff and your clients to one single event; and how you will choose who to have there. If you have a small business, such as a hair salon, a restaurant or a store, you can simply host a “Holiday Open House,” where you offer holiday treats to anyone that walks in. If you have a business that cannot accommodate a holiday party, or have VIP clients that will expect a finer affair, you will need to budget for a more elaborate event. Any event that you are inviting customers and clients to should ultimately give them reassurance in your business and generate future sales.


Once you have decided who you will invite to your office party, you need to budget for it. Consider whether you will be able to put on the event yourself, or with the help of your employees, or if you need to hire a professional event planner. If you decide on inviting over 50 people, it may be worthwhile to pay a professional instead of spending the time you can be focusing on your business, especially if the holiday season is a busy time for you. 

When deciding your budget also consider your return on investment. How much additional revenue will employees generate after their increase in motivation and loyalty to the company? Will customers recommit to using your service, or purchase more products when they are able to meet the team they are supporting? Ask these questions to start understanding what reasonable spending will look like for your small business, and if you need assistance in budget tracking, consider using a Business Budget Smart Sheet.

Although a holiday party can be a big investment, it can provide many benefits to your company, such as increasing employee retention, customer loyalty, and higher sales. It may be advantageous to secure a small business loan from IOU Financial to invest in this event to grow your business in the next year! Contact us today to get a loan in under 24 hours!