8 Timeless Business Lessons from Hallmark Christmas Movies
From struggling Christmas tree farms to bakeries on the brink of closure, the challenges felt by the small businesses that lie at the heart of these movies can offer business lessons to all.
If you spend every weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas bingeing Hallmark holiday movies, you already know that at the heart of every movie is a struggling small business. From down-on-their-luck wedding planners to almost-out-of-business inns, nothing drives the plot toward a happy holiday ending like a business in need of a boost.
In Hallmark movies, of course, it’s usually a combination of things that come together to save the day: the good-hearted townsfolk, some unexpected PR and maybe even a little Christmas magic. In real life, however, solving your business problems is usually a lot more complicated.
Here are 10 business lessons from Hallmark Christmas movies that might help your business thrive, too.
Partnerships aren’t always easy, but sometimes they’re worth the effort (Best Christmas Party Ever)
After finding out her boss, Petra, is retiring, party planner Jennie Stanton hopes she will be left in charge of Petra’s party planning business. But when Petra’s charming and handsome nephew, Nick, arrives on the scene to take over the business, it looks like that dream is dead. That is until Jenny discovers how well she and Nick work together and she faces losing him to a career in acting.
As Jenny learns, partnerships aren’t always smooth and it’s tempting to want to do everything yourself. But partnerships also allow you to leverage the strengths of both partners. Is a partnership right for your business? Read our article on the pros and cons of having a business partner.
Employees are your most valuable asset (Christmas Cookies)
When his cookie factory is sold to a large conglomerate, Jake is pressured to sell his share so the company can be relocated to a bigger big city. Hannah is sent to complete the deal, but after meeting Jake and realizing how important the factory is to the town, Hannah decides its employees are more important than profit.
Hannah learns that the real heart of any company is its employees. To make sure you retain your best asset, read our article on the best employee retention tactics.
At the heart of every Hallmark Christmas movie is a struggling small business.
Sometimes saving a business takes a village (Christmas Land)
Upon finding out that her late grandmother left her ‘Christmas Land,’ a magical Christmas-themed village and tree farm, Jules Cooper finds herself at a crossroads: Should she sell Christmas Land and get back to her life in the city, or stick around and restore it to the captivating potential it once was in? Jules decides to make a sale — to a buyer she thought would keep the village alive in its current form — only to find out that he had plans to raze the land entirely. In order to buy it back, she needs to raise over $1 million so the buyer can turn a profit. With one investor and the help of the entire town, she is able to raise the money that the business needs to be bought back and kept alive.
With a few obstacles, Jules learns various ways to raise capital in order to keep the business afloat. If your business is in need of funding, read more here to help decide the best way to do it.
Buying an existing business can be challenging (Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa)
Retail designer Lisa revisits her hometown and discovers that the beloved general store she remembers from her childhood has closed. After attempting to sell the store, Lisa decides to buy the store and relocate back to her childhood home. Starting a business is tough, but Lisa learns that buying an existing one comes with challenges, too. For more on how to purchase an existing business, check out our guide on financing the purchase of an existing business.
Nobody knows your business better than your employees (Christmas in Love)
Ellie Hartman is an aspiring crafter working in her small town’s bakery. When big-city CEO Nick Carlingson visits the bakery with plans to modernize it, Ellie shows him it’s the people who make the business a success. As Ellie proves, your employees are often your most avid supporters, so it’s essential hire the right ones from the beginning. Here are five tips on how to hire the best employees.
Learn from your competition (Check Inn to Christmas)
Julia Crawley is planning her annual return home for the holidays — from the Big Apple to her hometown in Colorado, where her family owns and runs an inn. Being only one of two inns in town, the Crawley Inn finds itself constantly in competition with the town’s other inn, owned by the Mason family. When they’re faced with a large real estate company looking to buy Mason Inn, Crawley and Ryan Mason — the Masons’ son and manager of the inn (and her budding love interest) — devise a plan that will prevent the sale, save Mason Inn and grow both inns together. If you’re finding your business in a competitive situation within your industry, sans the budding romance and holiday magic, read more here about how to conduct competitive research and learn from your competition.
Outside funding can save a business, but it comes with challenges (Merry & Bright)
Cate Merriweather is finding out the hard way that seasonal businesses present challenges for profitability year-round, as she runs Merry & Bright, a family owned and operated candy cane factory. That’s when Gabe Carter comes in, a consultant with a corporate recovery firm who is assigned to get to know Merry & Bright and figure out a way to fix the business’s situation. This leads to Gabe finding a large investment company to provide funding — which sounds great in theory, until Cate realizes that she has to give up some of her power. She’s then faced with the struggle of changing her family’s traditional business for the sake of keeping it alive. If your small business is struggling, or if you are looking towards outside funding to help get you to the next level, here is what you need to know about venture capital.
To grow, your business may have to evolve (Marry Me at Christmas)
Maddie and Isabel, the co-owners of Paper Moon Bridal, are facing the possibility of going out of business when a new customer, Ginger, asks Maddie to try her hand at wedding planning. After accepting, Maddie and Ginger become fast friends and the wedding is a huge success. The two work together to grow and expand their business. For more inspiration on how to grow your business, here is some advice from entrepreneurs who’ve done it.
CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.
Published November 15, 2019, US Chamber of Commerce